Do You Remember the Rude Nudists

By Christian Wiman b. 1966 Christian Wiman
Do you remember the rude nudists?

Lazing easy in girth and tongue,
wet slops and smacks of flesh as they buttered every crevice.

Sungrunts. Blubberpalaver.

We were always hiking some hill toward some beauty some
     human meanness ruined.
We were always waiting too long to let ourselves be seen.

It was an ocean's gesticulations, articulate elephant seals,
     grounded clouds grown all one mouth.

What could we do but laugh,
casting clothes aside as if the air were ice and water a warm bed,
goose-stepping goose-pimpled past their appeased surprise into
     the waves.

What could we do?
 
We could—we did—love
take a long look
at each other
                         and creep quietly away.

Christian Wiman, "Do You Remember the Rude Nudists" from Every Riven Thing. Copyright © 2011 by Christian Wiman.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Source: Every Riven Thing (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)

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Poet Christian Wiman b. 1966

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Living, The Body, The Mind, Love

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Poet, translator, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman was raised in West Texas and earned a BA at Washington and Lee University. He received an honorary doctorate from North Central College.
 
Making use of—and at times gently disassembling—musical and metrical structures, Wiman often explores themes of spiritual faith and doubt in his spare, precise poems. Praising Wiman’s “ear for silence” in a review of Every Riven Thing for . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body, The Mind, Love

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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