Tonight No Poetry Will Serve – Adrienne Rich

Saw you walking barefoot taking a long look at the new moon’s eyelid later spread sleep-fallen, naked in your dark hair asleep but not oblivious of the unslept unsleeping elsewhere Tonight I think no poetry will serve Syntax of rendition: verb pilots the plane adverb modifies action verb force-feeds noun submerges the subject noun is choking verb disgraced goes on doing there are adjectives up for sale now diagram the sentence   Adrienne Rich, May 26, 2008.  

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Peeling Onions – Adrienne Rich

    Only to have a grief equal to all these tears!   There’s not a sob in my chest. Dry-hearted as Peer Gynt   I pare away, no hero, merely a cook.   Crying was labor, once when I’d good cause. Walking, I felt my eyes like wounds raw in my head, so postal-clerks, I thought, must stare. A dog’s look, a cat’s, burnt to my brain– yet all that stayed stuff in my lungs like smog.   These old tears in the chopping-bowl.   Adrienne Rich.

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Pears – For Kathleen B. Nestor by Mary D’Angelo

  O, how you filled my baby days with sticky sweet-tasting pureed pears, strained through the family sieve. The yellow-skinned fruit with the spherical base and tapered top that you would skin with your sharp knife.   How we laughed when the cat played with the peel, pawing it through the air, while I sat strapped in the high-chair, my mouth shaped in the smallest O, my eyes wider than the years between us.   My mouth a hangar, the spoon of pears a plane that zipped though the air, each swallow followed by a laugh.   How our memories…

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The Weakness – Toi Derricotte

That time my grandmother dragged me through the perfume aisles at Saks, she held me up by my arm, hissing, “Stand up,” through clenched teeth, her eyes bright as a dog’s cornered in the light. She said it over and over, as if she were Jesus, and I were dead. She had been solid as a tree, a fur around her neck, a light-skinned matron whose car was parked, who walked on swirling marble and passed through brass openings — in 1 9 4 5. There was not even a black elevator operator at Saks. The saleswoman had brought velvet…

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The Sound of My Name – Dily Morris

Over and over I call her back to me– her flowered bathrobe with pink trim around the collar glasses a little crooked hair wispy white. Scuffing blue terrycloth slippers she turns toward me, grasping the counter edge for balance, and speaks my name with more love than anyone ever squeezed into one word. Over and over I listen to the sound of my name– the memory of her, speaking my name.   Dily Morris

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One Death – Geraldine Connolly

When my grandmother was dying in her soft bed in the corner of my aunt’s farmhouse kitchen, we all sat with her, even the children   staring at the white, shut face, masked in a rapture of its own while all the noisy racket of death filled the air, lungs letting go,   blood about to rise in a purple wash, the pot of bones knocking, in a fury to stay behind, stay with us. Or perhaps the soul was rattling   its grip, a last hold on life, giving the body one final slap, she shuddered and trembled so,…

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