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Burning Oneself In | Adrienne Rich

In a bookstore on the East Side
I read a veteran’s testimony:

the running down for no reason
of an old woman in South Vietnam
by a U.S. Army truck

The heat-wave is over
Lifeless, sunny, the East Side
rests under its awnings

Another summer
The flames go on feeding

and a dull heat permeates the ground
of the mind, the burn has settled in
as if it had no more question

of its right to go on devouring
the rest of a lifetime,
the rest of history

Pieces of information like this one
blow onto the heap

they keep it fed, whether we will it or not,
another summer, and another
of suffering quietly

In bookstores, in the parks
However we may scream we are
Suffering quietly


Note from Dena: Adrienne Rich is one of my favourite poets. Her work has saved me over & over & over again. She died Tuesday at her home in California. She authored 32 books of poetry and prose, and was an indefatigable political activist. Rest in peace, Adrienne, and thank you for everything that you gave to me and to every woman.

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