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This poem is taken from PN Review 151, Volume 29 Number 5, May - June 2003.

Six Poems Sheenagh Pugh

The Street of Small Houses

Wooden booths, just big enough for one,
leaned close on a street stifled

with caraway, saffron, aniseed.
The old men pattered out on their errands

for food and firewood in the peppery air,
sneezing. They were foreigners, clerks

to the spice merchants, settled
among strangers who slowly turned

into neighbours. They went shopping
for small amounts. The city forbade them

marriage: they might live
and trade, but leave no mark.

On the Street of Small Houses
windows were paned

with horn or skin: scant outlook
...


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