Poetry by Marilyn Kallet

Ode to the Handsome Frenchman

He stared me down, claimed he wanted to be you,
coveted your dark eyes, your punch-drunk black hair,

your pecs and abs your poetry your agile hands
your fantasies your

No, I said, you cannot be my other.
You’ll never be Dante.

Never my muse.
You starred in one poem but that’s it, buddy.

The feature film has been cast.
D. transported me through hell and back

and not a hair on my head was singed.
You’re glossy. But can you compete?

Can you croon your way past monsters on
both sides of I-75? Can you leap

generations gaping between us in one
bound? You’re a flame, sure,

but the real you, the prototype, is wildfire,
hillsides gone, ashes

blown away.
One almost second-guesses

having been touched.


About Marilyn Kallet

A former Ray’s Road Review contributor, Marilyn Kallet is the author of 17 books including The Love That Moves Me, poetry by Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems (Derniers poèmes d’amour), Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game (Le grand jeu), and with Darren Jackson and J. Bradford Anderson has co-translated Chantal Bizzini’s Disenchanted City (La Vie Désenchantée), 2015. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals including Plume, Blue Lyra Review, Blue Fifth Review; Still: The Journal, New Letters, Prairie Schooner. Dr. Kallet is Nancy Moore Goslee Professor of English at the University of Tennessee. She also teaches poetry workshops each spring for VCCA in Auvillar, France.