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This poem is taken from PN Review 135, Volume 27 Number 1, September - October 2000.

Six Poems Vona Groarke


He says he hardly notices, that I don't look all that different
and now that the redness is gone and the stitches are out,
you'd think everything was the way it always was. I'm glad
to hear it, but I know it's crap. His tongue says it one way

but his hands have it another. He hasn't touched me on that
side since the op. Oh, he'll work away at the other right enough,
but he turns his head (who'd blame him) towards the wall. I do
the rest myself, running my finger, for company, round the stump.


Madrigal-smooth, with lines that hold their distances
like voices from another room. The darker strains
are breath that is held against itself for just too long,
while the lighter are given to lustre and to sway.

In this, I am holding out for a note to be sounded from
unfathomable ends, when you have something simple to bestow.
Your voice will not give. Let it use my name against your own

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