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Vinod Kumar Shukla

That Man Wearing a New Warm Coat
Went Away Like a Thought

That man wearing a new warm coat went away like a thought.
Having worn rubber slippers I was left behind.
It was the time of clothes taken off in winter six o’clock in the morning.
Morning six o’clock was the time, like six o’clock in the morning.

Under the tree was a man.
Inside the mist within the stain of a man was that man.
Tree’s stain was like a tree.
To the right was the stain of a horse of rubbish pedigree
Like a horse of rubbish pedigree.
Horse was hungry so
For its sake the mist grew in the air like grass.

And so many houses, so many trees, so many streets and so forth
but none were the horse.
A horse alone was. I was not the horse
But while panting my breath was exactly the mist’s pedigree.
If that man standing at a fixed spot under the tree was the bossman
So I was for him
Trotting, with my shoes on like horseshoes with nails driven in.

Translated by Dilip Chitre


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