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This poem is taken from PN Review 229, Volume 42 Number 5, May - June 2016.

Four Poems Rowland Bagnall

I felt lonely, like I’d missed the boat,
or I’d found the boat and it was deserted

Like the moment between knowing you might nearly jump
and actually nearly jumping, I considered half-undressing
an imagined Joan of Arc, approaching to the stake with unfaced
soldiers and a crowd of muted children like the children in the foreground
of a Lowry painting. The only thing she could get through to me was,
It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens,
which, given the circumstances, we all agreed was pretty funny.

It was one of those rare experiences where you move into rain that’s already
falling somewhere else. In another place, but a place exactly the same
as this, I thought about the bit in Fargo (1996) where Steve Buscemi gets
stuffed into the wood-chipper until only his feet are left, imagining what that
must be like those first few seconds you’re alive, and whether you’d bleed out
on the snow or just lose consciousness immediately, the way some people

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