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

Five Poems Carol Ann Duffy

Whoever She Was
They see me always as a flickering figure
on a shilling screen. Not real. My hands
still wet, sprout wooden pegs. I smell the apples
burning as I hang the washing out.
Mummy, say the little voices of the ghosts
of children on the telephone. Mummy.

A row of paper dollies, cleaning wounds
or boiling eggs for soldiers. The chant
of magic words repeatedly. I do not know.
Perhaps tomorrow. If we're very good.
The film is on a loop. Six silly ladies
torn in half by baby fists. When they
think of me, I'm bending over them at night
to kiss. Perfume. Rustle of silk. Sleep tight.
...


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