The headline says “a student
and his wife in double suicide …”
I read the article

hoping that it’s not about someone I know.
It’s not. It says that
Mr. A. S. Aptekar, an M.A. candidate

from India, “swallowed cyanide following
rejection Wednesday of his thesis.”
So too his wife, and both of them left wills.

The paper says they also both left notes, that
both were “fully clothed
and on their bedroom floor” with Mr. Aptekar

“holding his wife in his arms.”
And it’s too late for me to do a thing.
It’s too late to say, Please

Mr. Aptekar don’t do it. Forget, Mr. Aptekar,
your silly thesis. Go back
to your village, let the sun shine on your face,

embrace your friends and kiss the earth
that bore you. Laugh aloud with
everyone about the habits of the comical Americans.

Walk beside the river flowing to
the Ganges and take off all your polyester clothes.
Lie down with your wife.
Hold her in your arms! but please don’t
hold her like you’re holding her right now because
of the rejection Wednesday of your thesis.

Get up off the floor, God damn it,
pack your bags, get out of here. We never want
to see you here again.

How obscene, how unspeakable and murderous
your kind of shame, how helpless
in our pity those of us who might have helped.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 9 Number 5, on page 56
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