Adrienne Rich

Time Exposures

Glance into glittering moisture
webbed in lashes   unshed tears
I’d guess as yours
Known odor inhaled years later
in a brief social kiss   sudden conjuncture
soap, breath, hair   other embraces
diffused   once, again, time’s exhilarations

Is there a doctor in the house
who in his plain mindful way
cared for his patients through
pain rain and snow

who at each and every grave
side knew
what could be done
he’d done

And where have all the patients gone
who wanted (more than one)
a tending hand
across the forehead   at the end

And what’s the house?

They’d say she was humorless
didn’t go to the parties
giggle   show white teeth

So would suspend her in
their drained 

Her body had nipples, eyes
a tongue and other parts


which rose from love   quite often
hilarious into daylight
even forgetting why

When I stretched out my legs beyond your wishful thinking
into the long history they were made for running
caught the train you missed sought you eye-level
at the next station   You having run the whole way
to seize my face between your hands   your kind
of victory or benediction   then
we swerved down-tunnel
in separate cars   What is it to
catch yourself mirror-twinned
in an underwater window   what
about speed   matching
technology and desire   getting off
at the last stop:   dispersed

You’ve got ocean through sheet glass brandy and firedog
ocean in its shaking
looks back at you with a blurred eye

Who’s that reflected
naked and sundered

reaching a hand

down to the beach, walk in the wind
Pick up the washed-in shell
at your foot

Shell castle built on sand
your body and what’s your soul?

Is there a ghost-in-waiting?
time to bring that one in