Saturday, April 2, 2016

Itinerary by Adrienne Rich


Itinerary

i.

Burnt by lightning    nevertheless
she’ll walk this terra infinita

lashes singed on her third eye 
searching definite shadows    for an indefinite future

Old shed-boards beaten silvery hang
askew as sheltering 
some delicate indefensible existence  

Long grasses shiver in a vanished doorway’s draft
a place of origins    as yet unclosured and unclaimed

Writing cursive instructions on abounding air

If you arrive with ripe pears, bring a sharpened knife 
Bring cyanide with the honeycomb

             call before you come        

ii.

Let the face of the bay be violet    black the tumbled torn
kelp necklaces strewn alongshore

Stealthily over time arrives the chokehold
stifling ocean’s guttural chorales    
                                                 a tangle
of tattered plastic rags

iii.

In a physical world the great poverty would be
to live insensate    shuttered against the fresh

slash of urine on a wall
low-tidal rumor of a river’s yellowed mouth
a tumor-ridden face asleep on a subway train

What would it mean to not possess 
a permeable skin
explicit veil to wander in

iv.

A cracked shell crumbles.
Sun moon and salt dissect the faint
last grains

An electrical impulse zings  
out    ricochets 
in meta-galactic orbits

a streak of nervous energy rejoins the crucible
where origins and endings meld

There was this honey-laden question mark
this thread extracted from the open
throat of existence—Lick it clean!
—let it evaporate—

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