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This poem is taken from PN Review 129, Volume 26 Number 1, September - October 1999.

Four Poems Patrick Mackie

Before You Know It

At the end of breath, a fog, which means a luminescence, these
cold hours. Or it means a porousness. Look closer at it,
look again (not inspection, inspection presumes

expectation): its density is the refractoriness with which
it takes up any surrounding lights in glints, and so seems
to create light. Then it becomes mere air once again,

invisibility (yes, before you know it). And look,
you too have become a density lit by the thin glow
of, for the moment, estrangement, in a strange city, known,

momentarily, as expiration.


The Pavilion of Elegance (Homage to Wols)

You live in a levity. Objects give you their strangeness
in return for the precision of your disarrangements -
a rabbit's flesh cuddles a comb, a river's quaver

gives off the misalignment of a city, a kidney yields
...


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