Summer 2003 • Vol. XXV No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 2003 |

A Flat in Jaipur

A rainbow film glistens on the water standing in a pool dark as engine oil at the mouth of the street. At nightfall anorexic cows, their ribs carved in relief on the dirty marble of their hides, gather to graze on the edge of the garbage heap that grows along the wall of a small unusable park. Their lips nibble at tufts of grass that seem to sprout inside their mouths, at banana peels black and limp as strips of leather. Mosquitoes hum in clouds in the dim blue-white glow of streetlights. The whole house smells from the bottom up, but different smells pervade the stairs and landings, the bathrooms, the bedrooms, the kitchen. There's no point leaving the windows wide open all morning: even a gusty wind sweeping through the flat won't disperse these odors. Indoors, damp patches on the walls, plaster flaking off in chunks, a single crack running through the cement like a crooked river. Every trace of leaks leaves behind a map the shape and size of a continent, dankness thrives in towel

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Vinay Dharwadker is the author of Sunday at the Lodi Gardens (Viking, 1994), and has  recently completed his second collection, Someone Else's Paradise: Poems 1971-2001. Among the books he has edited or coedited are The Oxford Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry (1994), The Collected Poems of A. K. Ramanujan (1995), and The Collected Essays of A. K. Ramanujan (1999), all published by Oxford University Press. Most recently, he has edited Cosmopolitan Geographies: New Locations in Literature and Culture (Routledge, 2001) for the English Institute, Harvard University. Over the past two decades, his poems and translations of modern Indian poetry have been published in Daedalus, Hudson Review, London Magazine, TranslationTriQuarterly, World Literature Today, and elsewhere. His latest essays appear in A Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry (Blackwell, 2001) and Comparative Literature Studies (2002). His book of translations, Kabir: The Weaver's Songs, will be published in the Penguin Classics series this fall. He teaches South Asian literature and is director of the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Life Cycles

By Vinay Dharwadker

A rainbow film glistens on the water standing in a pool dark as engine oil at the mouth of the street. At nightfall anorexic cows, their ribs carved in relief […]

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