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This poem is taken from PN Review 100, Volume 21 Number 2, November - December 1994.

Five Poems Alison Brackenbury

Rented Rooms
Night stole away my reason to be there -
that routine note which missed the post. I came
out of the throaty mist, the New Year's air,
stared, at the dim house which showed no name,
called to a girl, who rattled past her bike,
blowing her fog-damp scarf, winter's hot cheeks.

The first door I pushed open from their hall
gaped a conservatory, shadowed: full
of spoiled ferns once, sweet geraniums.
Now it held bikes, askew. It breathed back all
the cold of first streets, lingering on stairs -
the outside door blows open - no one cares
to clean: from Christmas, ivy curls in sprays,
dark, in rolls of dirt. Who went away
...


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