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This poem is taken from PN Review 191, Volume 36 Number 3, January - February 2010.

Three Poems Fleur Adcock


I sat on the stairs and fiddled with something
as my mother braved the pre-wedding chat:

it seemed you wrote to a doctor in Christchurch
who would send supplies under plain cover,

and - well, that was it. Struck dumb by the notion
of parental sex, I asked no questions.

We never wrote to the dubious doctor,
nor did Alistair slink into chemists’ shops.

In fact we did nothing much at all;
and only after my first baby,

when my GP decided to fit me
with a diaphragm, and explained what it was,

did I get the point of my friend’s grim saga
about her trek from doctor to doctor

before her wedding, being turned away

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