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This poem is taken from PN Review 165, Volume 32 Number 1, September - October 2005.

Five Poems Charles Tomlinson

The Customs Man
for Victor Manuel Mendiola

The Ashbery you sent
from Mexico
had been rent apart
to undergo investigation
by the customs man,
its uncut pages
hacked open - then
an interval, as if
of wondering puzzlement
and a sheaf
of virginal leaves intact.
After which, the knife
resumes its jagged slashes.
The gash in the wrapper
...


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