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by Yamini Pathak

After the last bell sang release
we poured out of school
onto open street like an undisciplined army
Girls in rust
convent school uniforms
(skirts: knee-length socks: knee-length
nail polish: you’re going straight to hell)

Like summer-drunk bees
drawn more by scent than sight
to sweet-sour/half- ripe tang of Polly-mangoes
rounded like a parrot’s head, tapered
to a blushing beak
sold for 50 paise each
Four slashes of the fruit-seller’s blackened knife
through orange meat
a smear of vermillion-red chili-powder dotted with salt
Devoured – flesh, skin and all
with sticky fingers and tongues on fire
In those days – we were always ravenous for more

unnamedYamini Pathak was born in India and lives in New Jersey. Among other places, her writing is forthcoming or has appeared in Rattle, Journal of New Jersey Poets, LiteraryMama, and The Hindu. Yamini is an alumnus of VONA/Voices (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation). She is at her most creative when designing Halloween costumes for her kids.