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City of Kites: Agra, India

Kelly Pflaum

I sit on the rooftop terrace, watch the fading daylight -

­oppressive air polluted, thick gray clouding the burnt sky.

Through the haze, patches of color emerge and climb, kites


in ruby, indigo, pink. The summer breeze must be just right­ -

every child in the ancient city guiding tethered fabrics to fly

from countless apartment rooftops into the fading light.


A boy on the closest building, bold against the stained white

brick - he unfolds nylon, struggles with a knotted string, tries

to raise the toy to greet the colors of a thousand soaring kites.


He runs forward, propelling a worn yellow diamond into flight.

I follow the swinging shape, watch it mingle with others until I

strain to see beyond the rooftop as the sun sets into twilight.


I think of these children, wonder what flying these kites might

mean if they were the children begging at the Taj Mahal - my

few donated rupees could have bought these colorful kites


that fly above the city, above locals and tourists who fight

their way down dusty streets. A car horn blasts through dry

air. I leave the rooftop terrace as twilight gives way to night,

as darkness overwhelms colors in the maze of soaring kites. 

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