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This poem is taken from PN Review 151, Volume 29 Number 5, May - June 2003.

Four Poems Carmen Bugan


    for my grandfather

The stork returns from the river
with a snake in its beak -

wing-shadow and wing-flap and then
he stands on one foot in his tree.

The hens go slowly blind and head to sleep,
quinces light up crepuscular

and I am old enough to come looking for you
in the back garden at the stove, amid fireflies.

Dinner is always a formal affair with you:
dark suit, white shirt and tie,

walnut-oil in your hair.
So you sweat under August

and under your black hat. Your old hands
tame a fire of twigs and cornstalks.

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