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

Three Poems Andrew Waterman

The Captain's Swallow

Janet, she tells me, is painting swallows.
As I pocket my mobile Guy comes round from his counter:
'L'artista americana , so what of her mermaid,
her story she tells us for years that she works on?'
'I think it's not yet got its tail wet.'
                                         'But excuse me,'
il Capitano perks up on his stool, 'your word "swallow"?' -
he tilts his head, gulping ferociously. 'Yes, but also
the bird, la rondine .' Pino, who owns a volcano
in the south of the island, is watching us silently.
'Now in autumn,' says Guy, 'our swallows are all departed,
flown over Sicily to Africa, finding their way
right down to South Africa.'
                              'But excuse me,'
eyes glinting, 'not all our rondini are departed.

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