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This poem is taken from PN Review 150, Volume 29 Number 4, March - April 2003.

Two Poems Tamar Yoseloff

The London Necropolis Railway

One day the dead outnumbered the living.

Whole streets wore black wreaths.
Corpses rose from the earth when it rained.

They erected monuments to themselves,
Egyptian pyramids, gothic temples in granite and marble.

They travelled in horse-drawn carriages
and wore their finest clothes.

Even those we thought were one of us
took on a quality we came to know,

the blood-splattered cough, the bloodless cheek.
It became fashionable to be dead.

Artists chose delicate models and painted them
swooning in their deathbeds, or if still alive, in mourning.

Poets drank absinthe in bars that looked like coffins
and kept a vial of laudanum under the bed.

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