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This poem is taken from PN Review 103, Volume 21 Number 5, May - June 1995.

Two Poems Marilyn Hacker


The Boy
Is it the boy in me who's looking out
the window, while someone across the street
mends a pillow-case, clouds shift, the gutterspout
pours rain, someone else lights a cigarette?

(Because he flinched, because he didn't whirl
around, face them, because he didn't hurl
the challenge back- 'Fascists?' -not 'Faggots' - 'Swine!'
he briefly wonders - if he were a girl…)
He writes a line. He crosses out a line.

I'll never be a man, but there's a boy
crossing out words: the rain, the linen-mender,
are all the homework he will do today.
The absence and the privilege of gender

confound in him, soprano, clumsy, frail.
Not neuter: neutral human and unmarked,
...


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