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This poem is taken from PN Review 255, Volume 47 Number 1, September - October 2020.

Palinodes in the Voice of My Dead Father Jee Leong Koh
‘A palinode or palinody is an ode in which the writer retracts a view or sentiment expressed in an earlier poem. The first recorded use of a palinode is in a poem by Stesichorus in the 7th century B.C., in which he retracts his earlier statement that the Trojan War was all the fault of Helen.’ (Wikipedia)

Palinode I

Your mom, look
at her, crying

so piteously,
as my body is

wheeled
into the fire.

There she goes,
collapsing

into herself,
like a burning roof.

Hold her up.
Hold her

close, my
Hecuba.

I’m sorry I
ever thought

of her
as Helen.


Palinode III

All the time
the air sacs

in my lungs
...


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