Summer 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 3/4 PoetryJuly 1, 1996 |

With Emma at the Ladies-Only Swimming Pond on Hampstead Heath

In payment for those mornings at the mirror while,        at her     expense, I'd started my late learning in Applied   French Braids, for all        the mornings afterward of Hush     and Just stand still,   to make some small amends for every reg-        iment-     ed bathtime and short-shrifted goodnight kiss,   I did as I was told for once,        gave up     my map, let Emma lead us through the woods   "by instinct," as the drunkard knew        the natural     prince. We had no towels, we had   no "bathing costumes," as the children's novels        call them here, and I     am summer's dullest hand at un-   premeditated moves. But when        the coppice of sheltering boxwood     disclosed its path and posted   rules, our wonted bows to seemliness seemed        poor excu

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Linda Gregerson’s most recent book, Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2015. She is the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished University Professor of English at the University of Michigan.

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