A Rod for a Handsome Price

By Nicole Brossard b. 1943 Nicole Brossard
(from her to ravish meaning ravine On the other side
artifice slumbers in the green. The shadow follows hour
by hour hollow and gloomy and which call me forth)
……………………………….grafted onto the sentence
o a long time distant to hang on my belly obscure parallel
images and tattoos age suggestive of the fingernail grazing
the thigh the valley get turned on

the body gentle with daring
drug to take away her meaning
her skin of orange and olive
her texture of assailing couple
(you underline them with a stroke
like the bed under their weight
their pleasure)
…………..and plunge down
and so body to body in the tuft
her spreading out in vegetation
right to them
the point of consent and
little magic boxes…………….

the skin a free grammar
of silence canvas of impressions of
fire: artifice a distance
the true skin strips off the vowels
the soft sponges of the fine cob

the definite connection that exists
between ravishing meaning from her and
magic boxes
since the grafts
               gently the words run
               along it quietly.

Nicole Brossard, "A Rod for a Handsome Price" from Selections. Copyright © 2010 by Nicole Brossard.  Reprinted by permission of University of California Press.

Source: Selections (University of California Press, 2010)

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Poet Nicole Brossard b. 1943


Subjects Living, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Love, Desire


Quebecois avant-garde poet, novelist, and essayist Nicole Brossard was born in Montreal, Canada, and educated at the Collège Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Université de Montréal. 

Brossard’s work explores feminism, desire, and their connection to the structure and flexibility of language. Believer reviewer Kate Zambreno has praised Brossard’s “lyrical descriptions of lesbian desire coupled with a continued meditation on language. . . .

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Poems by Nicole Brossard

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Love, Desire


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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