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The old men with too much gamble in them, whose eyes
Are at peace only when all is lost, see the Queen's quiet face
On the deck of cards, the red cuff of her cloak, the raw tip
Of her tongue, the blood on her dress... What fled from them
In their frenzies comes tiptoeing back, choiring, to the marble
Concert hall where Nemesis, in velvet opera cape, is beginning
Her recitative: it is your turn to go slowly now, with hands
clasped behind your back, drowsy from the earth's sweet
abundance and her great deprivations, the rows of crooked trees,
the streets' bright monotony, to gather up the starving...

Emily Fragos

Hostage: New & Selected Poems
Sheep Meadow Press

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