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This poem is taken from PN Review 120, Volume 24 Number 4, March - April 1998.

Four Poems Paul Wilkins


In the colourful world where all the living beings are,
study the shapes the naked ones make, who put aside
the lures of brightness in puddles of their clothes on floors.

They are undressing without a word, they are striding
pale and nude into that room with white walls, its light
from snow-swamped leagues you couldn't measure.

Once that was the closed room of the adolescence of your
where you knew the names of everyone;
it was to be the place of an unburdening.

Think once more of what you thought of first
your life ago, staring at the ones so pale and slender,
so untouched, and never reaching out a hand towards their

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