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Affairs of State

The lock of hair in a green-lined envelope
which was given to me by a woman with whom I planned to elope
in the mid-eighties came back, much to my disbelief,
as the single rusty leaf
like a rivet
in a thick hedge of boxwood or privet
along a drive like her front drive, now no more likely to disappoint
as it reached its vanishing point
in the hallway’s missing tile
like a missing scale on a reptile
than when the previous owner, the diplomat,
had heard a green-lined envelope slither on to the mat
and, picking it up with a little Oh,
turned to his wife, the second one, the redhead, shortly to be his widow.

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