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

Two Poems David Wheatley
Alteration

i.m. Derek Mahon

Sunt aliquid manes. You’ll know the line –
polite fiction the dead and living talk.
O clock-hands ticking out your time and mine,  
the self-subtracting hours they gave and took:
words inch youwards but still want to know
which version of you they are talking to.

Come in from or accept again the cold.
I struck out for the nearest snow-fringed field,
following where a high, lone osprey called.
I tried to try your shadow on and failed.
My down, not feathers, was made less for flight
than an earthbound vertigo that’s all my fault.

Your dandy’s arcs and feints on high insist
there are places still the suave marauder
...


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