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This poem is taken from PN Review 242, Volume 44 Number 6, July - August 2018.

Outtakes for Ritsos Gabriel Levin

The shadow on his lungs had a way
of turning up at the oddest hours, there was always
a smash up somewhere to take in
the fallout suited him fine – what the doctors cured
he’d take back with a sharp intake
of breath, his pen shadowing him at a safe

distance, and when a ban was placed on his words
he rolled them like tabac and licked
the gum seal-tight, the mix he smoked in the near-dark
letting the words glow for a moment
as he watched the locals heft on their shoulders
their bait baskets, like the years

The Swimming Lesson

The parcel wasn’t getting any lighter
as he rounded the corner, he fancied plunging off

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