Adrienne Rich

1. To live, to lie awake under scarred plaster
while ice is forming over the earth
at an hour when nothing can be done
to further any decision

to know the composing of the thread
inside the spider’s body
first atoms of the web
that will hang visible tomorrow
to feel the fiery future
of every matchstick in the kitchen

Nothing can be done
but by inches. I write out my life
hour by hour, word by word
gazing into the anger of old women in the bus
measuring the striations
of air inside the ice-cube
imagining the existence
of something uncreated
this poem
our lives

2. A man is asleep in the next room
We are his dreams
We have the heads and breasts of women
the bodies of birds of prey
Sometimes we turn into silver serpents
While we sit up smoking and talking of how to live
he turns on the bed and murmurs

A man is asleep in the next room
A woman neurosurgeon enters his dream
and begins to dissect his brain
She does not look like a nurse
she is absorbed in her work
she has a stern, delicate face like Marie Curie
She is not/might be either of us

A man is asleep in the next room
He has spent a whole day
standing, throwing stones into the black pool
which merely keeps its blackness
Outside the frame of his dream we are stumbling up the hill
hand in hand, stumbling and guiding each other
over the scarred volcanic rock.