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This poem is taken from PN Review 193, Volume 36 Number 5, May - June 2010.

Arguing with Malarchy Carola Luther

Prologue

Mirensky moved like a sleuth with the bird through Milan
avoiding the station. Taxi to Padua, and Verona
reached by late night bus. Mud flats barefoot

were a tortuous business. Like following dark arms
of a half-drugged dancer in an ill-lit opera
or riding the back of an eel. Like rot.

Like slipping down branches of an unknown version
of the tree of life, damp as the skin of a fever,
or hugging the glint of walls of a shaft

of a mine that no longer yields tin
but according to myth conceals gold. After
three days, he made it to Venice. Here he stayed put.

Taking the bird from his pocket he fed it new corn.
Saw clouds in its eyes. After the heist it hadn’t recovered
the sheen on its plumage, now it was the colour of dust.
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