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This poem is taken from PN Review 139, Volume 27 Number 5, May - June 2001.

Two Poems Khan Singh Kumar

Wedding Night with his Eastern Bride

'With nail-painted henna feet, she hesitates
over a path of lemon petals
to nudge the bedroom door into its Chubb lock,
to snuff out the sandalwood, feint past
the silver trunk with its open dowry
of kettles, cutlery sets and Indian suits.
She peels from her sari to still the jangle
of jewellery. She is revealed,
bleached under the 100w light
but in her failure to catch his fire
she tilts her head dutifully, falters
down the vein of the mattress, fixed
on a fly that nibbles the palm
to wait for the touch of her husband,
who'd seen her once before at Passport Control

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