“Race” and “IT” from The Amphibian by Geet Chaturvedi, translated from the Hindi by Anita Gopalan


The boy was speeding away parallel
as if his bicycle could race my car.

I hit the brakes and slowed down.
The boy swished past triumphant.

Then mortified under the weight of charity
he stopped
to catch his breath. I hit the gas right then
and shot past.

It would take him a lifetime to regain his breath.

Inside the car, a Shostakovich symphony played.
Outside, Beethoven’s deafness steeped.


No. It was not a fairytale.
It had the body of a horse, tail of a dog, humongous phallus & there also hung
an udder swollen with milk.
Such an androgyne, both male & female, mega male-potency, slender-waist houri. 
This action hero did a thousand hands’ work alone, flew fleeter than a supersonic plane.
It was the first of its species for whose wide-scale production the government’s approval
was essential.
Till such time, it lived on every wall as a picture, on every computer as a screensaver,
pacing up & down, waiting.
It was a genetically modified human species into which
a right measure of genes extracted from several animals was melded after a million
No. It was not a fairytale. Not even a fantasy. It was a miracle of science.
Instead of waking our humanity, science is awakening our bestiality, melding animals into us.
If I speak thus, is it my benighted mind that speaks?
Yet I say, it has always existed.
It is the psyche of my species, absorbed in its animal aspirations, raising its head demanding
approval, and waiting.
The fiercer I deny its existence, the greater it asserts its dominance.