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This poem is taken from PN Review 37, Volume 10 Number 5, March - April 1984.

Poems Elizabeth Smither


Adorable bluntness of
Fickle friends, goat armpits
The very breath of kisses
Saliva from mouth to mouth.

When he's down why is it
It seems worse being Catullus
As though he's thrown all his reserves
Into a slack dry well?


'You could do this, send up a prayer or two
For this lady a devil prevented me from visiting
The devil that resides in gin, no mystery there
Thank you, my dear. The world is full of chores . . .'

For verisimilitude I check my memory
A small black nun (If they shorten our habits I'm leaving)
Crossing a field of gold stubble carrying dusters

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