Adrienne Rich

Skeleton Key

In the marina an allegro creaking
boats on the tide
each with its own sway
                                   rise and fall
acceptance and refusal
La Barqueta, My Pelican

barometer in the body
rising and falling


A small wound, swallow-shaped, on my wrist
ripped by a thorn
exacerbated by ash and salt

And this is how I came to be
protector of the private
and enemy of the personal


Then I slept, and had a dream
No more
No más

From now on, only 
reason’s drugged and dreamless sleep


Creeps down the rockface    shadow cast 
from an opposite crag exactly at that moment
you needed light on the trail     These are the shortening days
you forgot about     bent on your own design


Cut me a skeleton key
to that other time, that city
talk starting up, deals and poetry

Tense with elation, exiles
walking old neighborhoods
calm journeys of streetcars

revived boldness of cats
locked eyes of couples 
music playing full blast again

Exhuming the dead     Their questions