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This poem is taken from PN Review 231, Volume 43 Number 1, September - October 2016.

Two Poems Judith Wilkinson
Under the Radar

‘Life has made me a child of the desert. It reconciled me with my past.’
Malika Oufkir, Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail



Here’s one version of me:

I was fathered twice, the daughter of an ambitious Berber,
confiscated by a King.
After the two had clashed,
I was parented by a prison.

In that throttled space
the remnants of our family huddled together, nursing our shell-shock.
Like Ulysses, we kept dreaming of a return.
A caged Scheherazade, I invented the same version of ourselves
in another landscape.

But I forgot about the fourth dimension,
how time dug roads that lead nowhere in my skin.
Today I am a young woman – half modern –
...


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