The gift that most moved Jean-Jacques Rousseau
was presented by a messenger with a short note,
“Make a vest of this—my white, silk under-petticoat—
so that something that has touched me so intimately
might rest always near to your heart.”
After kissing the note and the petticoat of his lover,
Rousseau wrote back, “It is as if you have stripped yourself
naked before the entire world to clothe me.
I will wear your gift only to remind me how much
I long only for the time when once again we can undress.”
Bill Wolak has just published his fourth book of poetry, Warming the Mirror, with The Feral Press. He is currently working on a translation of the Italian poet Annelisa Addolorato with Maria Bennett. Mr. Wolak teaches Creative Writing at William Paterson University in New Jersey.