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This poem is taken from PN Review 189, Volume 36 Number 1, September - October 2009.

Two Poems David Rain

Countdown Down
I knelt to tie my shoe beside the road
and put my countdown down. Two boys appeared
like phantoms through the early evening air.
Before I saw them there, one had jackdawed,

swooped my countdown up, then cawed, crack-voiced,
‘Look what he gave me!’ to his large-eyed friend,
and danced like Ray Bolger. Time seemed to stop;
the sawmill, silent for Saturday night,

gleamed like a witness that would never talk.
No cars were passing. No one there to see.
I reared up, clutched the boy around the chest,
demanding, ‘Give my countdown back!’ He laughed,

and though he could not break from me (my grip
was tight) he spluttered to the grinning friend,
‘He’s so weak! He’s so weak!’ Jackdaw was right.

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