Spring 2012 • Vol. XXXIV No. 2 Poetry |

Women of the Plain

   nuns with fat red cheeks, fat calves, fat bottoms go on Sundays to visit the winemaker uncle and eat plum pies. It's blue from the mountain peaks down to the low hills' base. But all that's on the mountain where we plainsfolk sometimes see from a distance a joyous window glitter in a moment's sunshine. The plain is something else. Among the rushes, among the reeds glide in a long black and silver thread glide the dormant waters the deep waters where sometimes a servant girl drowns herself because she didn't marry the miller's or the mayor's or the marshal's son, glide the dormant waters beneath the heat of equatorial July and the stork on spread wings soars over a half-league of fields in vain, everything is dry. The tree frogs are curled up under the leaves. But the waters glide deep and inhabited by carp, pike, by ghosts, illusions. You who watch standing on the shore and unweaponed see them pass silently, see the buzzard circle, and the baby r

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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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