by Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich


A room papered with clippings
newsprint in bulging patches
none of them mentions our names
gone from that history then O red

kite snarled in a cloud
small plane melted in a fog: no matter:
I worked to keep it current
and meaningful: a job of living I thought

history as wallpaper
urgently selected clipped and pasted
but the room itself nowhere

gone the address the house
golden-oak banisters zigzagging
upward, stained glass on the landings
streaked porcelain in the bathrooms

loose floorboards quitting in haste we pried
up to secrete the rash imagination
of a time to come

What we said then, our breath remains
otherwhere: in me in you


Sonata for Unaccompanied Minor
Fugitive Variations
discs we played over and over

on the one-armed phonograph
Childish we were in our adoration
of the dead composer

who’d ignored the weather signs
trying to cross the Andes
stupidly I’d say now

And you’d agree seasoned
as we are working stretched
weeks eating food bought

with ordinary grudging wages
keeping up with rent, utilities

a job of living as I said


Clocks are set back quick dark
snow filters past my lashes
this is the common ground
white-crusted sidewalks windshield wipers
licking, creaking
to and fro to and fro

If the word gets out if the word
escapes if the word
flies it dies
it has its way of coming back

The handwritings on the walls
are vast and coded

the music blizzards past

Last updated April 28, 2023