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Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore
on the streets of New York, 1940
by Michael Escoubas
The contrast between them is palpable:
Wallace, the Large Red Man Reading
his Late Hymn from the Myrrh Mountain,
his companion, a bluebird caped in black,
imagines the ostrich digesting hard iron
and writes of poetry, I, too, dislike it.
They saunter down New York's 5th Avenue,
unimpressed with being innovators
in poetry's imagist movement, they
absorb the sounds and smells of the city:
horns and smoke, cops on horseback, air
thick with the scent of cindered coal.
At one with the city's bouncing bosom
they stroll side-by-side on a clear day.
They find a bench on which to rest.
He leans his cane between them; she
lays her purse to one side. Each respects
the other's private thoughts. As day turns
down to dusk, home and work call to them.
They leave amid a million fireflies flashing.