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This poem is taken from PN Review 253, Volume 46 Number 5, May - June 2020.

Moving Day and other poems Jenny King
Were there Trams in Odessa?

(overheard question)

Sepia. Tall house-fronts, pale above the dark streets.
Three tiny figures in heavy coats,
walking. What year is it?

It is the sepia year of long ago.
There was no time then. Streets were empty,
shops unvisited.

Inscrutable stillness, the camera’s moment
fixed against the flickering human eye.
Caged in history.


No. The picture’s imagined, conjured up
by that creative tool the hopeful brain
which mixes memory and invention.

But such a place and such a year existed
outside the mind’s embroidery. There was trade,
...


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