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This poem is taken from PN Review 60, Volume 14 Number 4, March - April 1988.

Variations on a Measure of Burns Rainer Maria Rilke

When January is home to visit her folks
and official work is a public hoax,
soy sprouts dotting the serpentine strokes
     ploughs combed in the lacquered
hill soil that each afternoon's rainstorm soaks
     weave a green jacquard

and zucchini and wart squash and Queensland Blues
(not the dog, but the pumpkin) squeak together like shoes
in tractor trailers, and nectarines bruise
     from being awaited,
but the grizzled haze over mountain views
     looks faintly methylated

because Drought, who's in on every forced sale,
though he may have seen the farmers granted bail
this summer, has the continent in his entail.
     Even smashed, he's seen you:

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