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It is errant.

It errs around the town to which it belongs
and errs like a word constantly misspoken.

It is taken out of its regular place and placed
in exile.

Exile is an outside of the kind strange animals inhabit.

A sharing of skins occurs.

On a branch above all this a species of bird
watches: a sparrow.

The thing driven out like a screw from its wall
lies open to rust

until it errs again
in the strange place outside animals inhabit.

It wanders around and returns, a cur.

It hungers and spits.

It takes off one skin and puts on another.

Its new skin is inside out
and like a net cast

to the sea it collects more and more
of itself, wreaking.

A wretched thing is alone
until it is not.

Among others of its kind
a wretched thing is still wretched

and when the sparrow lifts off, a final arousal
of pity,

the wretched thing is unwatched and still —

Aditi Machado’s poetry is forthcoming or has most recently appeared in The Iowa Review, The New England Review, Blackbird and The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (ed. Sudeep Sen, 2012). In 2009 she received the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize as well as the TFA Award for Creative Writing. She received her MFA from Washington University in Saint Louis, where stays on as the Third Year Fellow in Poetry for the academic year 2012-2013. She is the poetry editor of Asymptote, an international journal of translation.

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Sridala Swami writes poetry, short fiction. Her first collection of poems, A Reluctant Survivor,was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award in 2008. She has written three books for very young children, which were published by Pratham in 2009. Swami was the 2011 Charles Wallace Writer-in-Residence at The University of Stirling, Scotland. Swami blogs at The Spaniard in the Works.

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