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This poem is taken from PN Review 190, Volume 36 Number 2, November - December 2009.

The Letters Grevel Lindop

This must be where the alphabets come home to roost,
streaming at twilight like a fine black smoke
from every corner of Mexico: thicker and thicker
through the cooling air of the zocalo,
along the shaded side of the cathedral, and in
under the arches of this stone colonnade,
to drop at last into these shallow wooden trays,
into which a printer’s expert thumb is flicking, even now,
the few sorts that fluttered, here and there, into a wrong box.

Sooner after dawn one side of the square is lined
with housepainters, electricians, plumbers hoping for work.
They sit against the cathedral railings, each
with a hand-lettered cardboard sign affirming his profession.
Perhaps you’ll read it while another man brushes your shoes
on an antique box with a brass footrest the shape
of a miniature footsole that gleams like gold,
...


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