The Kite Runners of Varanasi

All heads are up and bodies totter from left to right, then backpedal, listless as their airborne kites, while they maneuver the invisible string, one hand feeding the other.

Backdropped by the Ganges and a whitewash of rustic buildings, swatches of colorful kites still rule the sky in the aftermath of Varanasi’s traditional festival. The ground, too, since the competition lies in kite cutting- or steering your kite string to tangle and sever another’s before they do the same to you.


I am a runner the same way some people are alcoholics, in that I’d never define myself as such, but it’s something I do frequently. That I’ve done frequently for a while now.

김 정 아

Sometimes, hearing them speak English makes me feel seven and sunburnt again. It’s like listening to a word, any word, be said enough times that you no longer hear where it begins and ends. No longer associate it with any meaning. Letters like milk stirred into a latte. Flat lines of the alphabet glued together in a way that is, well, foreign.


The summer I spent in Italy was my second time returning after having studied there my freshman year of college. “For a woman, it’s always for a woman,” a French ex-pat I met on Jeju Island in Korea recently said to me. “I came here for love. She didn’t stay, but this bar did,” he said, rapping his knuckles on the surface of the wood between us. I didn’t have a bar, I had a Bruno, but I didn’t tell him that I got the better deal.