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Rope

By Peter Swanson

Poem

Please take away the stench of Scotch,
The horror of champagne, the idle chat,
The skyline in its Technicolor dusk.
Take me back to when I didn’t do it,

To when I didn’t know how surprised
A man looks when, with certainty,
He knows he is about to die,
And does not understand the reason why.

Please take away my eye for art,
My taste for finer things, the prep-school
Fumblings in the dark, the books I’ve read.

Let me be young again, and in the dark,
A window warmly cracked, my pillow cool,
My parents padding up the stairs to bed.

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PETER SWANSON’s poems, stories and reviews have appeared in such journals as The Atlantic, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Epoch, Measure, The Nervous Breakdown, Notre Dame Review, Slant Magazine, Soundings East, Rattapallax, and The Vocabula Review. He has won awards in poetry from The Lyric and Yankee Magazine, and is currently completing a sonnet sequence on all 53 of Alfred Hitchcock’s films. His debut novel, The Girl With a Clock for a Heart, is forthcoming from William Morrow. He lives with his wife and cat in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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