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This poem is taken from PN Review 97, Volume 20 Number 5, May - June 1994.

After a Canvas by Mattia Preti W.N. Herbert

No-one can hear you play;poised between
chessboard and sound board, one painted hand
hangs on darkness, as though it felt
melodies quicken there,
expanding, duplicating
cells you would call chaos, coral-
collaring, hive-
helmeting.
It feels like stars are in
he room, having brought their
steep voids with them.

But what can you play
but what this light

is teaching you? Guitar empty
in your arms, with these
stripes and ruffs becoming reason,
a pleasing costume for
...


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