Tonight, this Adrienne Rich poem
is a diamond dulled with dark pencil.
Its margins announce shorthand:
men still distant, it tells me, doorframes = violence,
see famine, later, elsewhere.
The lead: silver against type.
On the cover of the book is a black and white wave
swollen to its absolute peak, beautiful and angry.
The distance from the lens that takes this image
to this particular angle of super-moonlight
by which I’m reading is at once millennia
and millisecond, is at once a yawning constellation
and a blanket, heated, to comfort some palliative nobody.
Our dreams are not what we remember.
The damp sheets, twisted; the sweat caught there:
maps for charting lost midnights.
Every body has its limits, they say.
Everyone is born in blind blood.
Across the dark fields, gasoline burns.
In shacks and dungeons, chained women still scream.
There’s just enough free speech left
for these fists to press delicate glass shards
into the shining spines
of every woman in the republic.