The casserole voided its simmering poule
A jar of capers broke, a jar of curry, a jar of honey.
She in her loose blue jumper, I in my loose blue shorts
then she scooped the chicken into the pot;
squares of soap-roughened cotton fiber, one apiece.
we gathered honey shards of broken glass,
"Les serpillieres! My unlamented marriage!
My mother never called them "serpillieres"
"If Id been alone when that thing came down
I would have, toobut neither of us were."
we each washed and wrung a serpilliere,
reprinted from Going Back to the River
Marilyn Hacker is the author of nine books, including Presentation Piece, which received the National Book Award in 1975, Winter Numbers, which received a Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Award of The Nation magazine and the Academy of American Poets, both in 1995, and the verse novel, Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons. Her Selected Poems was awarded the Poets Prize in 1996. Going Back to the River received a Lambda Literary Award in 1991. Her most recent book, Squares and Courtyards, was published by W.W. Norton in 2000. Her translations of Claire Malroux and of Vénus Khoury-Ghata have appeared or will appear in book form from Wake Forest University Press, Sheep Meadow Press, and Oberlin University Press, as well as in many American and British journals. She lives in New York and Paris, and is director of the M.A. program in English literature and creative writing at the City College of New York.