Adrienne Rich





The Eye

A balcony, violet shade on stucco    fruit in a plastic bowl on the iron
    raggedy legged table, grapes and sliced melon, saucers, a knife, wine
in a couple of thick short tumblers cream cheese once came in: our snack
    in the eye of the war    There are places where fruit is implausible, even
rest is implausible, places where wine if any should be poured into wounds
    but we’re not yet there or it’s not here yet     it’s the war
not us, that moves, pauses and hurtles forward into the neck
    and groin of the city, the soft indefensible places but not here yet

Behind the balcony an apartment, papers, pillows, green vines still watered
    there are waterless places but not here yet, there’s a bureau topped
                                                                        with marble
and combs and brushes on it, little tubes for lips and eyebrows, a dish
                                                                         of coins and keys
    there’s a bed a desk a stove a cane rocker a bookcase civilization
cage with a skittery bird, there are birdless places but not
    here yet, this bird must creak and flutter in the name of all
uprooted orchards, limbless groves
    this bird standing for wings and song that here can’t fly

Our bird quilted    wine poured    future uncertain   you’d think
    people like us would have it scanned and planned    tickets to somewhere
would be in the drawer    with all our education you’d think we’d
                                                                          have taken measures
    soon as ash started turning up on the edges of everything ash
in the leaves of books ash on the leaves of trees and in the veins of
                                                                          the passive
    innocent life we were leading calling it hope
you’d think that and we thought this    it’s the war not us that’s moving
    like shade on a balcony