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This poem is taken from PN Review 192, Volume 36 Number 4, March - April 2010.

Four Poems Mir Mahfuz Ali

A Discovery

Muktar was his name - his tongue
still white with his mother’s milk,
and he sucked his thumb in the classroom.
Monsoon music drowned the light of day.
Our Lakeside School was surrounded by black waters.
Water-hyacinth, rice-grass and lotus covered the lake.
Tiffin time. Playground muddy.
We had nowhere to go at break, but watched
how the rain-mist dusted our eyes -
a white darkness. He led me
to the back of our school, showed me
a little fish, a poionous snake, a toad.
We stood at the water’s edge. Rain exploded on the lake.
He took his fleshy shoot out of his pouch.
It was small as a young gherkin,
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