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This poem is taken from PN Review 100, Volume 21 Number 2, November - December 1994.

Two Poems Michael Haslam
A Lubrick Loosed
It's like a sly evasive wit. It's like a shy reflection on a set of cellar steps. It's like saliva on the lips. It's like a highlight to the eye, it's like a lubrick or a trick. It twists the tongue into itself as it escapes.

I should have loved to lure its source of likeness in to organise the making of a threnody for when it's gone. I could have thrilled to sense it shiver as it takes the bait. But as it spilled its reputation surreptitiously it left a trace, a blank, a tip, a bit of luck, it gave the slip.

I read it once and swallowed my acceptance of the verdict and the sentence, to be taken down by hollow lingual alleys and be bound to serve a term of time in dispute and in disrespect, then to be smothered in expiry in the matrix muff in nothing minus happiness, and any skin thrown in the lake of dreary slime that's drying to a bed of crusted flakes.

A shadow in the shedding light that slowly showed descending stone, I sniffed the fungal passage must effect arising from a dampening around the trap for soil and waste below the cellar steps. It must affect it to be dead, it should be buried. As obsequy, let it be said:

How lavish of its offices it offered silken thread, and yet how tacitly and well it kept the spell of secrecy alive within the cell, not letting any ghoul of imputation or the ghost of a suspicion ever touch or taint a hair- if it had any - of its silver head - but put a subtle finger to the lips, blinked as an imp, emitted squeaks, and with a crooked limb it shut its lid.

Ovidian Slips

Ovidian Slips
Ovidian Slips and Nothing More.
    I had come to the lips
of The Sibylline River. What
    Had I come to The Sibylline River for?

I had come to the pool out of tune as foetid,
quavering too loud, and stilted on my legs
I stood, a would-be one, immensely proud
but failing to admit that it's defeated

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