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

Two Poems Alison Brackenbury

OFF THE ROAD

Where the trees ended and low bushes crouched
Where a white dust road turned down from the tarmac,
There, in the wind of dusk, the oryx stood.
Tall as a man, thick horns thrown back,
Barred with bold black, they watched, then ducked
Around: plunged off to safety through their grass:

There they re-grouped to watch us. For they were
Neither wild nor tame, the quiet man said
Lighting the candles at the strange hotel
Talking softly with the hidden girl
Behind the kitchen door; padding to table,
Sweeping plates up with an airy hand.
Already it seemed strange that he should do this
Being white. His Siamese kitten ran
With fluffed, and smoky ears, beneath our feet.

The kitten could be scooped up. But the oryx -
...


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