Crossing the Seine

A thousand brazen love locks thronged the fences, / weird erotic spells inscribed with black magic / marker

A man wearing a checkered blazer, glasses, and a fedora smiles and stares downward, against a bright pink background.
The Walrus

To my wife

One winter day I crossed the Seine alone
from the Musée d’Orsay’s effulgent hush
to the Tuileries’ deserted Garden,
walking the Senghor footbridge in the slush.

A thousand brazen love locks thronged the fences,
weird erotic spells inscribed with black magic
marker. A jail for spiritual offences.
Against abandonment. One heretic

barge rode under that footbridge trailing smoke
and bearing a bright backhoe like a text
from God or an epiphanic joke.
One vessel christened Freedom. How unhexed

and joyful, O, and crafted to cohere,
a marriage grows whose art has mastered fear.

James Pollock
James Pollock is the author of Sailing to Babylon, which was a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award in Poetry. His poems have been published in The Paris Review, AGNI, Maisonneuve and other journals in the U.S. and Canada.

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