Last year I burned my father. Saw his dry veins, heard his crackling bones, and threw his ash into the sacred Godavari. Today I pass the border of paddies and trees and return to the mountain. Roads run forever. I wheel my Jeep, shifting gears, drive up and up and park on the gravel next to his cabin. I pull my eyes on the flight of stairs. My Father. He was here.
He trained me how to breathe. Look before you photograph, he’d say. Observe the shifting sunrise, the watchful moon. Observe the stillness, the static feeling that can’t be seen—that moment before a tiger leaps, before a breeze cools the grass and blows on your ears. Observe.
Plaster flakes have fallen on the ceiling of his cabin. I peek my head into his office. Outside the window a tree branches out, hanging in the wind. Mosquitoes are smashed dead against the remaining glass. A film negative, scarred with cigarette burns. Six moldy cigars. I search under the desk, paw through scraps of torn magazines. I open a cloth from a trunk and dust a pile of leftover bones. In them I find his medium-format lenses. His Mamiya. I hid… Read more »