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This poem is taken from PN Review 138, Volume 27 Number 4, March - April 2001.

Seven Poems Marilyn Hacker

On the Stairway

My fourth-floor neighbour, Mme Uyttebroeck-
Achard, a spinster in her seventies,
wears champagne-froth lace sheaths above her knees
and patent-leather boots, and henna-redorange
curls down to the white laminated
collar of her raincoat, like a striptease
artiste who's forgotten whom she needs to please.
She looks a lot like Violette Leduc.
On the dim stairway where she's paused and set
her shopping-bags down, the aide-ménagère
for Mme Magin-Levacher, upstairs
one more flight, says Mme Uyttebroeck-Achard's 'pas nette' -
not meaning 'clean', but, in her dealings, 'clear'
- and I think of that muddy genius, Violette.


Rêve Champêtre
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