Summer 2000 • Vol. XXII No. 3/4 Poetry |

Summers before the War

Because we stay there so often during summer vacations my grandparents' house —the one they built when they retired is our second home on the way from childhood to adolescence (and almost the first in a way since the apartment above the schoolhouse seemed to be just an annex of the classrooms) not the hearth of origin where all is spontaneously absorbed assimilated but the one where the child confronting freedom tries her hand at shaping her own universe           ❦ ❦ ❦ In the village, games drew us outdoors and my sister and I weren't their leaders surrounded by older boys and girls Here in this isolated suburban house we have to fill up, just the two of us, the torrid days consigned to half-light behind closed shutters Our wellspring our rivers our sea all gush from the wash-basin behind the house under the glass roof of the "veranda" There, through long afternoons, we fill and refill flasks and receptacles of different sizes tirelessly decanting

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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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