[Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?]

By Marilyn Hacker b. 1942 Marilyn Hacker
Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?
Before a face suddenly numinous,
her eyes watered, knees melted. Did she lactate   
again, milk brought down by a girl’s kiss?   
It’s documented torrents are unloosed
by such events as recently produced
not the wish, but the need, to consume, in us,   
one pint of Maalox, one of Kaopectate.
My eyes and groin are permanently swollen,   
I’m alternatingly brilliant and witless
—and sleepless: bed is just a swamp to roll in.   
Although I’d cream my jeans touching your breast,   
sweetheart, it isn’t lust; it’s all the rest
of what I want with you that scares me shitless.

Marilyn Hacker, “[Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?]” from Love, Death and the Changing of the Seasons, published by W.W Norton. Copyright © 1995 by Marilyn Hacker. Used by permission of Frances Collin Literary Agency.

Source: Love Death and the Changing of the Seasons (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1986)

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Poet Marilyn Hacker b. 1942

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 Marilyn  Hacker

Biography

Marilyn Hacker is an award-winning poet best known for formal poems that mix high culture and colloquial speech. Over a career spanning forty years, Hacker has established herself as a preeminent voice in the tradition of Robert Lowell and Adrienne Rich. From her first book, the National Book Award winning Presentation Piece (1974), Hacker has defined the dimensions of a poetic universe that she continues to explore. The . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Desire, Infatuation & Crushes, Realistic & Complicated

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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