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This report is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

Elizabeth Jennings Jane Davis

The Old Friend of an Old Poet

Now you are at the typewriter, steady,
the note-paper curled around the barrel
in the old way: you perform this office.

When you learned to type, in the old century
you and she were girls in, unimagined
this her, this you, this secretary's task.

You type 'she is unable to relate
to the poems'. You report, 'she continues
to be unable to deal with her affairs'.

Oh, her affairs, unended, at this point
ending the long lamp-lit nights unable
to rest, ceasing the long and steady gaze

you saw her level at the coming end.
And now 'in residential care' her work
is done and you come home and write for her.


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