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|June 19, 1982
I have a feeling I left a word out
On page 2, it’s “the whole enormous weight/
Please insert that word, if necessary–
A note from McNair about this letter: “Paul” is a fictional disguise for my older brother Paul, from Wisconsin, who played the accordion and was taken into the hospital for a life-threatening kidney operation when I began this poem. Thus, the character’s comic “flying away” has a darker association. Though I later added a phrase to the poem’s opening description of Paul (“with that worried look”) and changed the verb “began” in the first sentence to “begun,” the poem I sent in my original letter was virtually complete.
Read When Paul Flew Away (published version)