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This poem is taken from PN Review 78, Volume 17 Number 4, March - April 1991.

Three Poems Charles Boyle


We start at the top: the master bedroom
with en suite bathroom. And with, by the bed,
a gleaming chrome exercise machine
on which a man is cycling
down a sandy path
towards a hut made of reeds and mud ...

In the children's bedroom, a child is asleep.
Keeping the light switched off
in case it might wake him, we stare out above the cot
into trees and homecoming traffic.

In the kitchen, Elke, the Dutch au pair, is reading
the evening paper and chain-smoking Gauloises.
She is waiting for the telephone to ring.
There is a smell of burning, and this woman
who is showing me her life

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