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This poem is taken from PN Review 248, Volume 45 Number 6, July - August 2019.

Three Poems Lynne Hjelmgaard
Scorpion Hill

Sometimes, at sunset, I return to our house in a small boat.
It glides easily across the channel, the song of tree frogs
following with the evening wind.

Other times getting across is like trying to ride a wet bull
without a saddle, thighs clinging to its back,
hands struggling for grab holds in the cockpit,

spray hitting hard – biting hard – a slap across the face.
Why go back there to share the company of vermin and ghosts?
Where there are echoes of conversations: you walking towards me

to put the kettle on or to pour a glass of red
complaining about bites from the no-see-ums; where rats chew
on window screens or squeeze through cracks

in the cupboard, teeth marks left on apples and soap.
Loud rattling doors that never locked, can’t shut,
scorpions disappear into hiding places.
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