Adrienne Rich





Voyage to the Denouement

A child's hand smears a wall the reproof is bitter
  wall contrives to linger child, punisher, gone in smoke
An artisan lays on hues: lemon, saffron, gold
  stare hard before you start covering the whole room
Inside the thigh a sweet mole on the balding 
  skull an irregular island what comes next
After the burnt forests silhouettes wade
  liquid hibiscus air
Velvet rubs down to scrim iron utensils
  discolor unseasoned
Secret codes of skin and hair
  go dim   left from the light too long

Because my wish was to have things simpler
  than they were memory too became
a smudge sediment from a hand
  repeatedly lying on the same surface
Call it a willful optimism
  from when old ownerships unpeeled curled out
into the still nameless   new imperium  Call it
  haplessness of a creature not yet ready
for her world-citizen's papers
  (Across the schoolroom mural bravely
small ships did under sail traverse great oceans)
  Rain rededicates the exhumed
African burial ground
  traffic lashes its edges
the city a scar a fragment floating
  on tidal dissolution
The opal on my finger
  fiercely flashed till the hour it started to crumble


spoken = Karen Marek