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This poem is taken from PN Review 183, Volume 35 Number 1, September - October 2008.

Three Poems David Yezzi

Varnishing Days

Charcoal stands of hemlock mark a border
around rain-flooded fields; their arching lines -
tangled nubs, maroon-tipped - end in umber
furrows mirroring a pewter sky.

An unfinished scene: no house, no road,
no huddled figures backgrounded by frost.
A swollen river runs into this wood,
exits silently and out of sight.

Chevrons of black mallards angle down
the freshening breeze; conspirators, they stand in
for any human hint. Above the bine,

they veer up, disappear. Orange, snared by thin
clouds, freezes hard, shellacked and set again
in a lucid fixative that gives it shine.

In the foreground, oily refuse floats away

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