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In the AfternoonCharles Simic
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Vol. 30 No. 12 · 19 June 2008
Poem

In the Afternoon

Charles Simic

107 words

The devil likes the chicken coop.
He lies on a bed of straw
Watching the snow fall.
The hens fetch him eggs to suck,
But he’s not in the mood.

Cotton Mather is coming tonight,
Bringing a young witch.
Her robe already licked by flames,
Her bare feet turning pink
While she steps to the woodpile,

Saying a prayer; her hands
Like mating butterflies –
Or are they snowflakes?
As the smoke rises,
And the grey afternoon light returns

With its wild apple tree
And its blue pickup truck,
The one with a flat tyre,
And the rusted kitchen stove
They meant to take to the dump.

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Vol. 30 No. 13 · 3 July 2008

In the LRB of 19 June we published two poems, ‘The Source’ and ‘In the Afternoon’, which we attributed to Jean Sprackland. She is indeed the author of ‘The Source’, but the author of ‘In the Afternoon’ is Charles Simic. We would like to apologise to both of them.

Editors, ‘London Review’

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London Review of Books
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