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This poem is taken from PN Review 243, Volume 45 Number 1, September - October 2018.

After Long Absence John Ash
After long absence I found myself back,
all unwillingly, in the country of my sickness
where a kind nurse told me that the blue band
fastened to my wrist indicated ‘cognitive impairment’,
and I think there may be something to it. Why –

only yesterday I forgot how to spell
that grave word catastrophe when this
is what had happened like an unforeseen eclipse,
or shadow of an obliterating wing. In the hospital
as I waited to leave (and waited and waited)

to divert myself I read for the second time
Dame Freya’s Lycian Shore and recalled
an ogival tomb standing in shallow water
amid tall reeds where a blue boat lay moored
beside the small forgotten town of Tristomon,

abandoned after plague. After infinite delays
...


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