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This poem is taken from PN Review 216, Volume 40 Number 4, March - April 2014.

‘Company of Heaven’ and Other Poems Jennifer Copley
The Laying Out

Someone’s left a window open for her soul.
She’s not ready to let it fly just yet; can see
through the pennies Mother weeping,
red-eyed Father knocking back the sherry.
Neighbours come and go but no one speaks to her directly
except daft-as-a-brush Mary, who cries How white you are!
How still! and strokes her with a finger. How it burns.

There’s a smell of apple cake and something spiced.
She’s so hungry, hungry as a winter field,
and that mealy-mouthed Parson Skinner
is piling pie onto one of Mother’s best plates.
If he comes her way, she’ll dash the pennies from her eyes
and run; past the orchard and the heavenly scent of snow,
meet lovely Harry in the barn again.


Relatives of the Dead
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