Beyond the bend there were buffaloes,
Cows and a single boy perched,
Half-naked, on the back of a buffalo.
It was the twilight hour of cowdust.

Suddenly the angle of a woman’s arm
Collecting cowdung cakes by the roadside
Made clear this blended hour, a word
That had nestled like a bird in my soul,
Made clear the dungsmoke swathed
Outlines of a mud village, its cowdung-
Smeared walls and floors, clarified
A whirl of cows. Our driver honked,
Scattering some. Others continued
Their slow, swaying walk across the road.
We inched through a gap in the herd, Wreathed in cowdust, headlights switched on,
Casting faint, elongated shadows of cows
On this world of dust a word could touch.

(from Where Parallel Lines Meet, Penguin India, 2000)

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