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A Valediction
by Julianne Carlile

In A Valediction Forbidding Mourning,
John Donne uses a compass
To represent his love for his wife.
She might have wished for a different metaphor,
Like maybe a thick locked door,
Or even a different life.
Twelve children in 16 years did her in
Just as surely as a gun or club or knife.

So that's what happened to the wife.


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