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This poem is taken from PN Review 245, Volume 45 Number 3, January - February 2019.

Mother as Spy Patrick McGuinness
Mother as Widow

The barely-perceptible drag
of the marriage she’s carrying:
like a bird who’s been tagged
and who flies with the weight
of its near-weightless ring.



Mother as Spy

All of our words for spying are taken
from the dictionary of sleep;
though it is the spy who is awake,
and the world around her sleeps.

This is my life, she thinks, I am in deep cover,
embedded in my motherhood, my marriage,
the things they see but which I’m something other
than. We eat and sleep and breathe and age

together – he and I; me and him;
...


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