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This poem is taken from PN Review 46, Volume 12 Number 2, November - December 1985.

Two Poems George Szirtes

THE RETOUCHER

You can't remember every one of them,
all those you altered with a loaded brush,
all those who drift before you as you wash
the prints in faint red lights, those images
of births and funerals and marriages.
The snow has lost them. Even when you dream

they merge confusingly. The children throw
white bombs at one another which explode,
spattering their clothes; and across the road
a white haired man reveals his youthful skin.
You see the building he's been living in
and you yourself have aged. He turns to go

but leaves his face behind, a different face
with no expression but the features set.
You cannot quite remember where you met
...


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