Marilyn Hacker


Exiles


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.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie 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

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