Adrienne Rich

There Is No One Story and
One Story Only

The engineer’s story of hauling coal
to Davenport for the cement factory, sitting on the bluffs
between runs looking for whales, hauling concrete
back to Gilroy, he and his wife renewing vows
in the glass chapel in Arkansas after 25 years
The flight attendant’s story murmured
to the flight steward in the dark galley
of her fifth-month loss of nerve
about carrying the baby she’d seen on the screen
The story of the forensic medical team’s
small plane landing on an Alaska icefield
of the body in the bag they had to drag
over the ice like the whole life of that body
The story of the man driving
600 miles to be with a friend in another country    seeming
easy when leaving but afterward
writing in a letter difficult truths
Of the friend watching him leave remembering
the story of her body
with his once and the stories of their children
made with other people and how his mind went on
pressing hers like a body
There is the story of the mind’s
temperature neither cold nor celibate
Ardent    The story of
not one thing only.