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This poem is taken from PN Review 267, Volume 49 Number 1, September - October 2022.

‘The Critic as Cleaning Lady’ and other poems Miles Burrows
Under the Bed

Is there some other poem, finer, not quite written,
In the shorter volume, lurking in its margins?
Handwritten, or bleeding, rainsoaked, in purple ink?
Or on some India paper, vellum bound, invisible,
Sent from some dying major in the Himalayas
Scanning the stillness of the leaves across the valley
For signs of enemy movement? Movement of any kind?
Why always call the same unearthly batman,
Barefoot, spilling Japanese heads from a burlap sack?
On a Sunday evening like this one, full of shredded wheat,
Is it not time to brave an early cheroot?
Take off your shirt now, hero, and start ironing
The only shirt that God has given you
Or will you look for shirts in azure and purple
Belonging to the dead in their flames,
...


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