Poem of the Moment
To the Days
From you I want more than I’ve ever asked,
all of it—the newscasters’ terrible stories
of life in my time, the knowing it’s worse than that,
much worse—the knowing what it means to be lied to.
Fog in the mornings, hunger for clarity,
coffee and bread with sour plum jam.
Numbness of soul in placid neighborhoods.
Lives ticking on as if.
A typewriter’s torrent, suddenly still.
Blue soaking through fog, two dragonflies wheeling.
Acceptable levels of cruelty, steadily rising.
Whatever you bring in your hands, I need to see it.
Suddenly I understand the verb without tenses.
To smell another woman’s hair, to taste her skin.
To know the bodies drifting underwater.
To be human, said Rosa—I can’t teach you that.
A cat drinks from a bowl of marigolds—his moment.
Surely the love of life is never ending,
the failure of nerve, a charred fuse?
I want more from you than I ever knew to ask.
Wild pink lilies erupting, tasseled stalks of corn
in the Mexican gardens, corn and roses.
Shortening days, strawberry fields in ferment
with tossed-aside, bruised fruit.
~ Adrienne Rich