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This poem is taken from PN Review 249, Volume 46 Number 1, September - October 2019.

Five Poems Tara Bergin
Two Roses

I see great progress in your last letter but at the same time there is a sad note which we do not like. – James Joyce to his daughter Lucia, 1934

Please father-mother remember your splendid blooms
The Zephrine Drouhn beside the cottage door
The Generous Gardener round the arbour
I would like that – those –
They’re what I’m looking for.

The farmers here are not my friends.
Everyone else is ill.
He and I alone can’t help each other.
A drowning man clinging to a permeable vessel.
I know what you’re thinking: which part am I playing?

I’m playing the drowning man.

Please father-mother amongst all this I have such conversations:
‘Another biscuit? Why yes thank you I think I will!’
So my clothes tighten.

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