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This poem is taken from PN Review 154, Volume 30 Number 2, November - December 2003.

Three Poems Elaine Feinstein


When was it you took up that second stick,
and began to walk like a cross country skier?
Your glide developed its own politics.
Last July, you were able to stretch over
like an acrobat, to oil the garden table.
The patio faced south. It was high summer.

Coffee and grapefruit was the breakfast ritual,
or boiled eggs eaten from blue terracotta.
Our paradise you called it, like a gite
we might have chosen somewhere in Provence.
Neither of us understood you were in danger.
Not even when we called the ambulance:

you'd been inside so many hospitals,
ticking your menus, shrugging off jabs and scans
talking unstoppably to visitors -
your long crippling made you bitterly clever.

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