The Paris Review

Jayanta Mahapatra

AFTER THE DEATH OF A FRIEND

Over, the kite’s flight; and of a suddenis the realization of the morning overcomeby the echo of dark nights, silent witnessto the colorlessness crouching down before us.Stealing time is what’s been happening all the time.Is it because you’ve heard only your own cries,fifty years earlier, too, as they went by, adulterated with death?Or some shy, crumpled laughter carrying with itthe air of an unspoken but certain defeat?Somewhere in my mind, I lose the abilityto disappear, as the morning air moves listlessly about,indifferent to looks, or history, or roots. And hereif I died, like this, dying for the person I was,or for the one I see coming in and out of your death,would that be a way out to save mefrom the solitude I’ve believed in and pursuedin the same way I pursue the rush of blood in my veins?

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