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

Five Poems Patrick Mackie


So he looked down into the electron as far
as he could see. Someone had passed it to him,
wrapped daintily in a napkin. It was about
the size of a ping-pong ball, which surprised him,
as he'd heard they were smaller, and it had
an opening on one side. But he couldn't see further
than a sort of murky emptiness, nothing
exorbitant. He tried holding it to his ear:
it had a sort of tinny rattling sound. He tried
bouncing it on the ground, but it had no
real spring. Was it someone's idea of
a joke? So it was only as he handed it
back, with a look of reassured disdain,
that he caught, at a brief edge of his vision,
unless he is imagining it now, a curt

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