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This poem is taken from PN Review 144, Volume 28 Number 4, March - April 2002.

Two Poems after Vermeer Sue Wood


A Glass of Wine

He has been with her all afternoon.
At lunch he sat between her mother and a cousin
talking of ships and cargoes, nutmeg and cloves,
pouring these across the table from a pouch beside his sword.
He never looked at her but crushed
the spices between his thumb and forefinger
until she felt quite giddy with the warm strange scent
that must be the Indies. On his hand the black hairs
stood up like hackles. Her terrier brought in a rat.
And so lunch ended, the dog put outside
and the servant sweeping. Standing up, he brushed
the table clear again. Then turned to her.

So Mama went into town, to get a new piece of lace
or so she said, and the servants were out
and he sat down again.
...


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