PF detail from Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Beach Scene, Guernsey (Children by the Sea in Guernsey) - 1883;


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Last updated:
May 2009


Rosanne Wasserman's poems have appeared widely in anthologies and journals; both John Ashbery and A. R. Ammons have included her work in Best American Poetry. Her articles have appeared in American Poetry Review, and, with Eugene Richie, she has co-edited Martory's Selected Poems, translated by John Ashbery. Her poetry books include The Lacemakers, No Archive on Earth, Other Selves, and Place du Carousel, a collaboration with Richie, with whom she runs the Groundwater Press. She teaches at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, New York.


Qui Vive, Qui Vire
for Pierre Martory

Where was I going with no other map than a mirror,
with no navigator but mind, though
not even my own mind half the time—and who knows
whom I thought of in glass, through glasses?
Boulders with holes in 'em, that's what I wait for,
to wash up on the sand—amazing it happens
at all. You can't drink ocean.
But algae is edible:
thin salt fingers cling to tidal stone.

Who lives, who turns into another,
who full circles midnight seasons;
who fragments, fractals, changes,
resembling originals more each moon?

That's what we sing to this planet
when it shows up as our pierre:
seven-month-old with a Yankees bear,
lichen-clad menhir in sunflowers
that turns to watch the stone moon rising
seven thousand years,
grandfather playing guitar—
lone wolf in Pere Lachaise

Who wanders at midnight desiring himself
as another, another's part?
Who changes the white stone mirror into
swimmer and swimming weed?

Pablo Picasso "Harlequin"