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This poem is taken from PN Review 194, Volume 36 Number 6, July - August 2010.

Four Poems Owen Gallagher

On Trotsky’s Anniversary

I raised the ice-axe and thought of Mercader
bringing it down on Trotsky’s skull,

red spilling all the way back to Russia,
seeping upwards onto Stalin’s hands.

Friends and lovers play double-agents,
Mercader with Trotsky,

my unfaithful wife whose hand greets
another’s under our table.

My hand tightens on the kitchen ice-axe.
I bring it down fast, hard, on

a slab of ice. Blood spurts from my finger
like a fountain into her lover’s glass.

Emma Goldman*

Labouring through box after box of voting papers
I came upon a note attached to one

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