Marilyn Hacker

(1942 / The Bronx, New York City, New York)

Exiles - Poem by Marilyn Hacker

Her brown falcon perches above the sink
as steaming water forks over my hands.
Below the wrists they shrivel and turn pink.
I am in exile in my own land.

Her half-grown cats scuffle across the floor
trailing a slime of blood from where they fed.
I lock the door. They claw under the door.
I am an exile in my own bed.

Her spotted mongrel, bristling with red mange,
sleeps on the threshold of the Third Street bar
where I drink brandy as the couples change.
I am in exile where my neighbors are.

On the pavement, cans of ashes burn.
Her green lizard scuttles from the light
around torn cardboard charred to glowing fern.
I am in exile in my own sight.

Her blond child sits on the stoop when I come
back at night. Cold hands, blue lids; we both
need sleep. She tells me she is going to die.
I am in exile in my own youth.

Lady of distances, this fire, this water,
this earth makes sanctuary where I stand.
Call of your animals and your blond daughter,
I am in exile in my own hands.


Comments about Exiles by Marilyn Hacker

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (7/27/2016 12:08:00 AM)

    I am in exile where my neighbors are
    Nice work. Thanks for sharing.10 points. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Marieta Maglas (7/26/2016 12:44:00 PM)

    I am in exile in my own hands. -wonderful poem (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (7/26/2016 3:57:00 AM)

    Life! In exile in my own land. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (2/24/2016 2:49:00 PM)

    She has woven another masterpiece out of heartache, loneliness, gray gray times of the soul. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (2/24/2016 9:02:00 AM)

    '' I am in exile in my own hands. ''

    Sono in esilio nelle mie stesse mani. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (2/24/2016 9:00:00 AM)

    '' Her brown falcon perches above the sink
    as steaming water forks over my hands.
    Below the wrists they shrivel and turn pink.
    I am in exile in my own land. ''

    - In Italian:

    Il suo falco bruno si posa sopra il lavandino
    mentre il vapor acqueo si biforca sopra le mie mani.
    Al di sotto dei polsi la pelle avvizzisce e si tinge di rosa.
    Sono in esilio nella mia stessa terra. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Morris (2/10/2006 8:29:00 AM)

    Marilyn, why does this poem seem like one Hopper would have written if he couldn't paint?
    Brilliant!
    Many thanks.
    Mike (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »



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Read poems about / on: pink, daughter, water, change, child, green, red, sleep, fire, light, night, animal, cat, children



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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