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

Three Poems Elizabeth Smithers


Left open to wildlife and the sky
At first a shyness comes, a dying off
Thin bouquets, fit only for jars
A landing field for birds passing by.

An old art movement, the wrong length of hem
Or discontinued practices from far and wide
Early psychiatrists, Freud's dog's opinion of
The master dying in his marriage bed.

Old tracts and sulphur tabards, rotted pikes
The heads have fallen from like schismatic seeds
Words long uttered meant to cross and pierce
Recipient hearts that turned away their heads.


How well the plain wears.
The butler's room seems so

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