Fall 1986 • Vol. VIII No. 4 Poetry |

Crossworlds

Is Japan, this new world, another mirror?Because I am away from the countrywhere only the old and the impoverished cattle share my pain?My people's eyes telling my sistershe was a ten-rupee whore, a failed mother?Perhaps the knowledge of seeing myself as I really amwould be a privilege, now that I am here.In the peacock's blue and emerald feathered brocadeare the pulsing eyes of thousands of discontented workers.In the luminous look of the cowherd god idollurks the dead gaze of Gandhi.Hidden in the shadows of ruined temples lifelongI waited for the last hour of my servitude.To build a scene from secret harmonies,not write a history of attitudes.But all I have learned is to play my memorieson the instrument of my life,as I sit with Hiromi or Hisami or Masakostartled with mysteries that seemed to waiton a world beyond my own.Like this, for instance,so simple in Japan, without a need to understand,the fact that when I told the truth in my landit always hurt my mother more than pretendi

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Author of sixteen collections of poetry, Jayanta Mahapatra’s latest volume is titled Bare Face. He has read his poetry around the world and is widely anthologized. He edits the literary periodical Chandrabhaga. His recent work has appeared in the Sewanee Review.

Read More

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.