Spring 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 2 Poetry |

Quai Saint-Bernard

I take my Sunday exercise riverside, not quite local, not quite a transient.   Dutch houseboats, gravel barges, nose by   teenagers tanning in Day-Glo gym shorts. Waves slick as seal pelts undulate after, like sun-dappled, ludic, sexual animals   —if you ignore the floating garbage   cast by the strollers and weekend sailors. Three German students nap on their sleeping bags, backpacks and water bottles niched next to them,   up on the slope of lawn beside the   playground, as safe as suburban puppies, while, underneath a willow, a family: blonde woman, man like African ebony,   her mother, almond-golden toddler,   picnic on Camembert, bread and apples. I bring my books to sit in my favorite spot, concrete steps that arc in a half-circle   out from the water. Sometimes, barges   pull up and tie up beside my elbow. Shit! someone's standing inches in back of me, with all this space . . . . From vision's periphery   I just can make out it's

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Marilyn Hacker is the author of twelve books of poems, most recently Names (W.W. Norton 2010), and of ten collections of poetry translated from French. She received the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation in 2009 for Marie Etienne’s King of a Hundred Horsemen. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a former editor of The Kenyon Review.

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I take my Sunday exercise riverside, not quite local, not quite a transient.   Dutch houseboats, gravel barges, nose by   teenagers tanning in Day-Glo gym shorts. Waves slick as seal pelts […]

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I take my Sunday exercise riverside, not quite local, not quite a transient.   Dutch houseboats, gravel barges, nose by   teenagers tanning in Day-Glo gym shorts. Waves slick as seal pelts […]

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