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This poem is taken from PN Review 256, Volume 47 Number 2, November - December 2020.

Still too much sky Alex Houen
A diversion between Curzio Malaparte’s ‘Ancora Troppo Cielo’
and Virgil’s ‘Eclogue IV’

Who’d have thought the horizon is just the edge
of a face mask? Who’d have thought that a coppice
wood could do the police in different birds?
Time to essay up fresh voice again for this
age now is so far from golden and closer
to pangolin – most widely trafficked creature
and viral host to humans. A pangolin’s
tongue is rooted in its pelvis and so long
it keeps it rolled up in a mouth-pouch that is
like an internal mask. The Sibyls avoid
pangolins, and Marianne Moore was right about
them: we can only approach them with syllables.
       My daughter says no, the age we are in is
actually six, and why be the film’s heroine

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