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This poem is taken from PN Review 123, Volume 25 Number 1, September - October 1998.

Four Poems Paul Wilkins


You can't say what it is.
A Thursday music, with no libretto.

That last afternoon you remember with your mother:
the lawn half trodden away, the vast damp sheets
thrapping on the line; a grey sky beyond,
and the windows she had polished
so clean onto forever.

Is it only in words that we find our lives?
You were too young, so they failed you.
Now they are the everything that smokes a shape on nothing.

What you look back to,
always too hazed to be understood or forgiven.
A tall sky there beyond you.
What you look onward to, its nameless melting.

Secrets no one hid or knew to keep.
Each in its lost years, certain, waiting for you.

My Tired Darlings

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