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This poem is taken from PN Review 45, Volume 12 Number 1, September - October 1985.

Poems Thom Gunn

THE DIFFERENCES

1
Reciting Adrienne Rich on Cole and Haight
Your blond hair bouncing like a corner boy's,
You walked with sturdy almost swaggering gait,
The short man's, looking upward with such poise,
Such bold yet friendly curiosity
I was convinced that clear defiant blue
Would have abashed a storm-trooper. To me
Conscience and courage stood fleshed out in you.

2
So when you gnawed my armpits, I gnawed yours
And learned to associate you with that smell
As if your exuberance sprang from your pores.
I tried to lose my self in you as well.
To lose my self . . . I did the opposite,
I turned into the boy with iron teeth
Who planned to eat the whole world bit by bit,
...


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