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This poem is taken from PN Review 268, Volume 49 Number 2, November - December 2022.

Like the Ancient Greeks Who Measured Their Wealth in Olive Trees
The Plague Year
Beverley Bie Brahic
From the road below his garden
I am talking to Paul.
A pair of plane trees shades our two houses
With their seasoned, common wall;
Cicadas drone it’s hot it’s hot
Till the sun inches down
And a breeze lifts from the Rhone Valley Plain.

All of that I have learned by heart.
In fact it is February, the year 2020
And only a twinge of foreboding
About the pestilence gaining ground
As surely as a cyclist
Climbing the Mont Ventoux.
Paul rakes manure over his beds,
Tough work for a man of his age:
Ninety in October. Last October.

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