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This poem is taken from PN Review 246, Volume 45 Number 4, March - April 2019.

Poems from Chios
(a case of knives)
Jamie Osborn
Ahmed’s sitting with his fist in the books.
Sixteen weeks he’s been waiting, handling
the stories all of swords and fish, of
what they eat beneath the waves: dead men’s
fingers, jellied eels, plastic casing
for a glass eye he found on the beach.
His mother is – where – in the pages
he holds as if they might turn to salt,
bloom into crystals, like spreading ink?
Ask what he’s reading –
                                      he’ll break your teeth.

                       *
Suleiman, your breath stinks. Of smoke, of
drink. Though you’ve not a cent or dinar
to your name, there’s money burning holes
in your hands you peer through. You ask, so
I buy you hair-gel, and you eat it,
believing in the alcohol. It
...


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