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ISSUE:  Spring 1998
No rest do they afford us,
comrades. Cheap wreaths, not so far
from thorns, they soon begin
to itch. In bulk, too hard and thin
for bedding, they’ll scarcely stuff
a sachet pillow, and under a big head
crackle all night, inappropriate
applause, with a perfume
so heavy one gulps for a fresher,
anonymous, confident air. And yet,
what we rightly deserve,
we must suffer; modesty’s
no excuse. When they loop,

a drab green halo-noose,
toward us, the dutiful
head will bow, the scalp tingle
in expectation. No rest
do they afford, and yet,
soon every once-demure
cell of the brain consents,
Oh, lay it on me.


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