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This poem is taken from PN Review 130, Volume 26 Number 2, November - December 1999.

Four Poems Marilyn Hacker

Alto Solo

Dear one, it's a while since you turned the lights out
on the porch: a decade of separate summers
passed and cast shed leaves on whatever river
carried our letters

Merely out of habit, I sometimes tell you
when I've learned a word, made a friend, discovered
some small park where old men debate the headlines,
heard some good music

- it's like jazz, which, even at its most abstract
has the blues in it, has that long saudade
like a memory of what didn't happen
someplace that might be

inlaid with mosaics of recollection
which, in fact's a street-corner of the utmost
ordinariness, though the late light steeps it
in such nostalgia
...


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