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Integrity Analysis

Author: poem of Adrienne Rich Type: poem Views: 15

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the quality of being complete; unbroken condition; entirety

~ Webster

A wild patience has taken me this far

as if I had to bring to shore

a boat with a spasmodic outboard motor

old sweaters, nets, spray-mottled books

tossed in the prow

some kind of sun burning my shoulder-blades.

Splashing the oarlocks. Burning through.

Your fore-arms can get scalded, licked with pain

in a sun blotted like unspoken anger

behind a casual mist.

The length of daylight

this far north, in this

forty-ninth year of my life

is critical.

The light is critical: of me, of this

long-dreamed, involuntary landing

on the arm of an inland sea.

The glitter of the shoal

depleting into shadow

I recognize: the stand of pines

violet-black really, green in the old postcard

but really I have nothing but myself

to go by; nothing

stands in the realm of pure necessity

except what my hands can hold.

Nothing but myself?....My selves.

After so long, this answer.

As if I had always known

I steer the boat in, simply.

The motor dying on the pebbles

cicadas taking up the hum

dropped in the silence.

Anger and tenderness: my selves.

And now I can believe they breathe in me

as angels, not polarities.

Anger and tenderness: the spider's genius

to spin and weave in the same action

from her own body, anywhere --

even from a broken web.

The cabin in the stand of pines

is still for sale. I know this. Know the print

of the last foot, the hand that slammed and locked the door,

then stopped to wreathe the rain-smashed clematis

back on the trellis

for no one's sake except its own.

I know the chart nailed to the wallboards

the icy kettle squatting on the burner.

The hands that hammered in those nails

emptied that kettle one last time

are these two hands

and they have caught the baby leaping

from between trembling legs

and they have worked the vacuum aspirator

and stroked the sweated temples

and steered the boat there through this hot

misblotted sunlight, critical light

imperceptibly scalding

the skin these hands will also salve.


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| Posted on 2017-01-17 | by a guest

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