The Sting in the Tail

By ARVIND KRISHNA MEHROTA
Wearing loose clothes, light cottons,
you sit and fan yourself with a newspaper
supplement, a glass of tepid
fennel-flavoured sherbet by your side.

From the window you see
a car turn, a bus pass, or a cyclist,
a towel wrapped round his head.
It’s forty-five degrees centigrade
in the shade, and according to the forecast
there’s worse to come.
A neighbour’s genset
thrums in the background.
At night, still without electricity,
in the sooty warm light of a kerosene lamp,
you read John Ashbery and thwack! That
was a fat mosquito
leaving your forearm.

 

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra is the author of four books of peotry; the editor of The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets, Collected Poems in English, by Arun Kolatkar, and A History of Indian Literature in English; and the translator of The Absent Traveller: Prakrit Love Poetry and Songs of Kabir. A volume of his essays, Parital Recall: Essays on Literature and Literary History was published in2012. He lives in Allahabad and Dehra Dun.

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The Sting in the Tail

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