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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This poem is taken from PN Review 236, Volume 43 Number 6, July - August 2017.

Puddle Kate Kate Bingham
I
Something wrong under this bit of pavement –
some resettlement of grit or sand –
has tipped the slabs to make a shallow dish,
a bowl of rain we have to walk around.

Though it’s an inconvenient arrangement
no one complains, there are no roadworks planned;
because we know the council isn’t rich
we watch our feet on its uneven ground.

Everything must be paid for, saved, or spent
except this derelict liquid silver island
glinting with the inner-city mix
that drags my eye down through its lost-and-found:

chicken bones, matchsticks, dogshit, water fleas,
corroding copper wishes, bright 5ps.




II
What am I doing, talking to a puddle?
I don’t talk to people or to birds;
the postbox and the street-sign ‘Sussex Way’
have never had a kindly word from me.

Just as I saw it sulking in the middle
of the pavement I distinctly heard
my eye voice a spontaneous good-day,
as if Doctor Foster, Walter Raleigh

and the Billy Goats Gruff, afraid to paddle,
spoke through me, their audible absurd
fairy-tale formulation a display
of politeness I must need to guarantee

safe passage, side-stepping the fallen sky
to keep my trainers filthy warm and dry.



III
I wish I was as thin and full as you
and calm enough to let the sunlight shine
my surface, skin by skin, down to the dust
behind the after-shadow of a stain.

As long as I could come back good as new
and lie flat out in the concrete I’d be fine;
I promise I would soak without a fuss
into the little cracks that feed the drains.

Silver, brown and blue – another two
of the world’s imperfections, there sometimes
on the corner, more or less where they always see us –
you can be what happens when it rains

and I a blue brown silver apparition,
your very own vanishing human reflection.

This poem is taken from PN Review 236, Volume 43 Number 6, July - August 2017.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this poem to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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