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.

Join our community

Still reading? Show your support.

The Walrus features award-winning, independent, fact-checked journalism and online events at thewalrus.ca. Our content is available to all, but as a registered charity, we can’t do this work without contributions from readers like you.

For only $5 per month, you can support the work of The Walrus online. All supporters will receive a complimentary tote bag, gain access to exclusive updates, and join the community that powers the work we do.

Be part of The Walrus.
Monthly donations receive a charitable tax receipt.