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This poem is taken from PN Review 250, Volume 46 Number 2, November - December 2019.

The Fly Paul Muldoon
Surrounded as he is by the blood spatter
from the cut and thrust over an idea to which he was but briefly wed,
the fly is washing his hands of the matter

till the smoke clears. A wildcatter
on a rig still lumbering across the North Sea’s bed,
surrounded as he is by the blood spatter

and spout of crude, he remembers only a scatter
of crudités, heavy hors d’oeuvres, glasses, remembers seeing red.
The fly is washing his hands of the matter

now a meal in an upper room has once again served to shatter
his illusions. Overcome by the high hum of the dead,
surrounded as he is by the blood spatter

from the cruets of oil and vinegar, the fly is tempted to spray attar
of roses on the aforesaid
‘fly washing his hands of the matter’,

if only because the internet chatter

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