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This poem is taken from PN Review 262, Volume 48 Number 2, November - December 2021.

‘Love letters of the Hampstead Modernists’
and other poems
Francesca Brooks
Love letters of the Hampstead Modernists1

       you are pebble-headed
       and starfish-mouthed,
       dark as a lick of brine
       and pocket-smoothed.

That summer
I carried you
                   all up the beach,
beloved as an Octopus Rock –
      as if I might taste you
with these fine nerves           tentacular
           or come to know you
     as I warmed you in my palm.

Later I prepared a box:
         sea urchin spines, crab
                   backs and limp claws,
porcelain-white barnacles

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