Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Adrienne Rich



Not what you thought:    just a turn-off
leading downhill not up

narrow, doesn't waste itself
has a house at the far end

scrub oak and cactus in the yard
some cats    some snakes

in the house there is a room
in the room there is a bed

on the bed there is a blanket
that tells of the coming of the railroad

under the blanket there are sheets
scrubbed transparent here and there

under the sheets there's a mattress
the old rough kind, with buttons and ticking

under the mattress is a frame
of rusting iron    still strong

the whole bed smells of soap and rust
the window smells of old tobacco-dust and rain

this is your room
in Calle Visión

if you took the turn-off
it was for you

© 1995 from Dark Fields of the Republic (W.W. Norton)