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 latest book of poems is Durable Goods.

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