Sunday, July 03, 2005

The Hour of the Kites

"The parrots used to come here once", she said.

I can imagine that. Droves of parrot resting in the trees, and suddenly flying out into the sky, as if the tree had flung out hundreds of leaves. The air must have been full of song, because those were the days of color, of joy, of music.

Music is lost now. In its name, are helpless screeches, trying to be heard, above the ceaseless din of the city. The parrots have gone away. They are more sensible than us. No one notices that they have gone. No one notices that the birds can't be heard singing anymore.

Now the kites come. Scores of them. They sit in rows, quietly sullen, on the concrete roof ledges of the school outside our window.

The hypnotic light of the ubiquitous TV flickers over her face, ravaged not by the past, but by the increasingly non-comprehensible present, slipping away from the mind's grasp. She looks at the kites, stoically, trying to make up interesting stories about them. But the kites don't care.

They are sullen. They sit watching for the prey. A schoolchild who makes the mis­take of opening her lunchbox on the ground, a timid sparrow, a careless rat, a dead body.

The kites are sullen, cruel. They don't sing, they are dull brown. They are concerned only with their prey. The stories she tries to make up about them come out hoarse from a long silent throat, dull with pain, predicting sure doom.

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