The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday and <lj comm


For K. J., Leaving and Coming Back
By Marilyn Hacker


August First: it was a year ago
we drove down from St.-Guilhem-le-Désert
to open the house in St. Guiraud

rented unseen. I'd stay; you'd go; that's where
our paths diverged. I'd settle down to work,
you'd start the next month of your Wanderjahr.

I turned the iron key in the rusted lock
(it came, like a detective-story clue,
in a manila envelope, postmarked

elsewhere, unmarked otherwise) while you
stood behind me in the midday heat.
Somnolent shudders marked our progress. Two

horses grazed on a roof across the street.
You didn't believe me until you turned around.
They were both old, one mottled gray, one white.

Past the kitchen's russet dark, we found
bookshelves on both sides of the fireplace:
Verlaine, L'Étranger, Notes from the Underground.

Through an archway, a fresh-plastered staircase
led steeply upward. In a white room stood
a white-clad brass bed. Sunlight in your face

came from the tree-filled window. "You did good."
We laid crisp sheets we would inaugurate
that night, rescued from the grenier a wood-

en table we put under the window. Date
our homes from that one, to which you returned
the last week of August, on a late

bus, in shorts, like a crew-cut, sunburned
bidasse. Sunburned, in shorts, a new haircut,
with Auden and a racing pulse I'd earned

by "not being sentimental about
you," I sprinted to "La Populaire."
You walked into my arms when you got out.

At a two minute bus stop, who would care?
"La Populaire" puffed onward to Millau
while we hiked up to the hiatus where

we'd left ourselves when you left St. Guiraud
after an unambiguous decade
of friendship, and some months of something new.

A long week before either of us said
a compromising word acknowledging
what happened every night in the brass bed

and every bird-heralded blue morning
was something we could claim and keep and use;
was, like the house, a place where we could bring

our road-worn, weary selves.
  Now, we've a pause
in a year we wouldn't have wagered on.
Dusk climbs the tiled roof opposite; the blue's

still sun-soaked; it's a week now since you've gone
to be a daughter in the capital.
(I came north with you as far as Beaune.)

I cook things you don't like. Sometimes I fall
asleep, book open, one A.M., sometimes
I long for you all night in Provencal

or langue d'oc, or wish I could, when I'm
too much awake. My early walk, my late
walk mark the day's measures like rhyme.

(There's nothing I hate---perhaps I hate
the adipose deposits on my thighs
---as much as having to stay put and wait!)

Although a day alone cuts tight or lies
too limp sometimes, I know what I didn't know
a year ago, that makes it the right size:
owned certainty; perpetual surprise.

--------

wednesday100, the television challenge: Nightly. Eek! I wrote Chloe/Lionel! Again! I should add a note that in this drabble she's over 18.

Last night I Friended a bunch of people whom I know under another identity (if you know what I'm talking about please don't out me). I never get through that person's Friends list, even the highly filtered version, and wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything of yours. So if you're wondering who's that strange person who's added you, you know me already -- you just may not know it's me.

Gacked from ariestess, an Avalon quiz! I liked Eilan very much, too. Not quite as much as her namesake Helena perhaps, but of the ones who remained in Britain, she was probably my favorite. And one of my pictures of the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey to go with it.



Congratulations, you are the beloved High
Priestess, Lady Eilan! She is gentle and
caring, attending to those who are abandoned.
She brings herself down to earth by doing the
same daily chores as the other priestesses.
Unlike Lady Lhiannon she knows of the Druid's
plans, and attends to things accordingly. Eilan
is the last High Priestess of the Forest House.

Which Priestess of Avalon are you?
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