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PN Review 275
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This poem is taken from PN Review 275, Volume 50 Number 3, January - February 2024.

Sequence Marilyn Hacker
Charcoal sky, Thursday, a whole day of rain.
The vineyards, and the peach and apricot orchards need it, but I 
sit upstairs here, not writing or reading, feeling an oblique
pain in my shoulders, my soul, descend again – the things I 
didn’t do, that it’s too late to start, an essay, letters, I never wrote.
Tomorrow afternoon, I take the train back to the city, where I 
lived, and don’t want to live, though it was like desire for a 
lover, a soul ache like ambition for years. The most contentious
conversation is with a friend, in writing, worse, on a phone or
with myself. Breathe out. A pause. Inspire.


Breathe out. A pause. Breathe in. Expire. Inspire.
An afternoon above weekend manifs.
Routine damp. Exhilaration. Grief, concentration. What comes
next? The fire of noon, or rain at midnight? The taut wire
messages crackle in, bringing their brief enigmas, queries,
responses. An opening leaf in sunlight. I’m lazy. I’m a liar

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