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This poem is taken from PN Review 168, Volume 32 Number 4, March - April 2006.

Nationalist Archives Togara Muzanenhamo

1. The Mannequin's Daughter

Autumn brings a strange sense of warmth to the old buildings, the windows filled with early evening light - auburn colours spilling over sills, flowing onto broad sidewalks lined with tall ageless trees. Christmas will soon sour our hearts again after bright colours darken to red roasted skins - and the fat light of summer thins to narrow streets where shadows knelt in the snow by the feet of those cold mathematicians of silence. There, this year simple men will sell nuts roasted above pierced drums of hellfire, and warm themselves by that heat throughout the winter. And here, behind a glaze of glass, she stands in front of me, wearing a stunning dress of gold maple leaves. She stares vacantly across the darkening street remembering her mother: naked, headless and pregnant, limbs - stiff brambles rooted in the dirty snow; two days missing, her skin as grey as birch and hard as oak. She tried to lift her mother - holding both ankles, and after struggling for a while - noticed the absurdity of it all: a scrawny teenager on her own - her mother's body resembling a wheelbarrow, her missing head the missing wheel.

2. The Servant Girl's Red Hat

The Minister of Home Affairs always played American music on his car radio,
Had an Austrian girlfriend and often thought of living in Krakow or Warsaw;
So it was only plausible then, that he turn right at the traffic lights - onto
The street he usually travelled when leaving the capital for his country house.

As he changed gear, he realised his chauffeur lay curled up on the back seat.
The fucker! he thought, must have fallen asleep the night before - most likely
Up to something with the new servant girl. Suddenly his driver's heavy
Snoring appalled him as the turning to the village of his country house passed.
In forty minutes they would be at the most rural border post, the guards
There could never have known his face.

All morning there had been mass suicides on a grand scale. It wasn't encouraged
But the public felt obliged to show their allegiance to the dissembled crown.
Frederic - the silent man who ran the government - personally assisted

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