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Compasses

My friend told stories I could not believe

of sport among the professoriat,

and toss me clue books if I seem naïve,

dull, spinsterish, inflexible, old hat,

but I’d always assumed that, having taught

of constancy, of compasses that roam

the wide world yet still know true north, men brought

at least a smattering of metal home.

No chance: the only loud sigh-tempests here

were those she could not muffle as she pried

fat gobs of wax from his infected ear;

the only tear-floods anybody cried

were hers, for all that wasted paraffin

lighting up words that never quite sank in.

from Silver RosesFind it in the library

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on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Poems Rachel Wetzsteon

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