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This poem is taken from PN Review 247, Volume 45 Number 5, May - June 2019.

Five Poems Sean O'Brien
The Party

In the distance there sits the retired volcano
Blowing absent-minded smoke-rings,
Bent to the darkening book of the valley
That tells us its story of panthers and serpents
And roses forever, as if we were children.
Here at the party the beautiful women
Flicker like the long-ago estrellas
de ciné, in monochrome Balenciaga,
Almost gone, still smiling on the men
Who will have everything and more,
The horses and the women and the moon
That rises from the dark caldera –
For desire, they will tell you gravely,
Is a duty much like death, its give and take.
Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. The murderers

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