Unsent Letter

Marilyn Hacker

Dear X,

Desire for you once filled a book,
that had two continents, two deaths, a child
wisecracking beyond her years in it, flash-styled
wardrobes, some sex scenes, daybreaks, and the look
of a lover leaving, seen from the back,
black jacket, scarf, blonde hair a little wild
in the rising wind that, hours ago, was mild.
And I took a notebook out of my backpack,
opened it on whatever surface was near,
like Berryman, girl gone, began to write
my shipwreck chronicle—all I could do.
Now you’re a businesswoman, sixty-two
(or something) with a wife. I’m sexless, “queer”
politically. And when night falls, it’s night.

Marilyn Hacker is the author of nineteen books of poems, most recently Calligraphies, and co-author of two collaborations: A Different Distance, with Karthika Naïr, and Diaspo/Renga, with Deema K. Shehabi.
Originally published:
April 1, 2024


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