Some dreamily smoke cigarettes, some track

By Marianne Boruch b. 1950 Marianne Boruch
Some dreamily smoke cigarettes, some track
toddlers who walk like drunks. Buzzy,
the picnic grounds, noisy, sun-crazed, how
forks and spoons don’t exactly lie flat.

A mountain’s here, a famous overlook
from which you’d see none of this. Like that
first daguerreotype, its moving carriages
and those who strolled never picked up

in the long exposure, a Paris street emptied
by the camera, only houses and lamp posts
gone eternal. Or the one who stopped
for a shoe shine, the one who knelt to the task.

At the picnic—a commotion. A large man
to a younger man. I don’t know you! he’s hugging
and laughing. I don’t know who you are,
he shouts over and over a stillness so immense.

Source: Poetry (October 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2009
 Marianne  Boruch


Poet and essayist Marianne Boruch grew up in Chicago. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including, most recently, Eventually One Dreams the Real Thing (2016); Cadaver, Speak (2014); The Book of Hours (2011), which won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Grace, Fallen from (2008); and Poems: New & Selected (2004). Her memoir, The Glimpse Traveler (2011), concerns a hitchhiking trip she took in 1971. In the Blue . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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