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This poem is taken from PN Review 261, Volume 48 Number 1, September - October 2021.

Four Poems Sean O'Brien
Lord Back-End

The gabardine. The belt of twine. Brown paper
poking from the trouser-cuffs. Those rings
like knuckledusters, and the wand of bone that steers
an entourage of frosty air. You’ve been outflanked.
Now all fall down for Lord Back-End.
You that were gold shall be brought low
and you who governed dig your graves –
proverbial, it must be true –
the ring of pick-axes and spades on iron ground
is everywhere inside these woods.
Perhaps you haven’t listened. See, a moment
seals the stream in ice upon a lip of stone.
Your moon-white face is there among the fish.
You must have missed the toadstools, then,
who having grown into themselves
like Arcimboldos of deformity
renounced this world and turned to slime.
...


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