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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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POETRY

 

Our National Treasure

 

Pulitzer Prize Poet

Vijay Seshadri

 



Memoir

 

Orwell says somewhere that no one ever writes the real story of their life.

The real story of a life is the story of its humiliations.

If I wrote that story now—

radioactive to the end of time—

people, I swear, your eyes would fall out, you couldn’t peel

the gloves fast enough

from your hands scorched by the firestorms of that shame.

Your poor hands. Your poor eyes

to see me weeping in my room

or boring the tall blonde to death.

Once I accused the innocent.

Once I bowed and prayed to the guilty.

I still wince at what I once said to the devastated widow.

And one October afternoon, under a locust tree

whose blackened pods were falling and making

illuminating patterns on the pathway,

I was seized by joy,

and someone saw me there,

and that was the worst of all,

lacerating and unforgettable.

 

                 —Vijay Seshadri

 

 

 

"Memoir," 3 Sections, by Vijay Seshadri, With Permission, Graywolf Press 2014.   

Available for sale at Graywolf Press.