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Adrienne Rich, and: Transfixed
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Adrienne Rich


She came to read her poems—
those straight-talk towers
of brick and mortar—and to speak
of the cracked earth and seething
rock beneath them. Each poem,
a requiem for the rubble she stood in:
the twentieth century that cast her
and cost her. A serious woman
who spent her life spending every
thing she had.
  Outside the room,
winter maples organized themselves
against the sky, and sparrows
pecked at what they could find
as they had always done. And we,
of the chicken salad and buttered roll,
folded our linen napkins, laid
down our silver, and hushed—
waiting for gold.
  But as soon as
she mounted the stage and leaned
to the microphone, we leaned back
and away in our chairs. You could
barely discern it, but yes, back away
is what we did, for in her voice
and in the match strike of her eyes,
she flared fire, and I saw again
the ghost of the old refinery, the one
off Township Line Road, its towers
lighting the night sky, each burning off
in one pure flame the impurities we were.
You see, she spoke true. She spoke witness.
And we knew it.


What does day want
but blue—all cloud complications
pushed through sweet
as blues through a trombone
or water riding the elbow
under a sink.

What does night want
but simple—A into slot B,
C into D, and all constellations
clicked into place, not a ruckus between them.
Each star a saint, subsisting
on its diet of burning.

But in between,
in the gentle hour before dawn
when time spins pointlessly
on its spindle and sky doesn’t
know coming or going, what could
that want? Outside my window
winter twigs arch before a backdrop
of roseate light. A scroll
unrolled. A silk to read
and read by. Peach blossoms
of winter, having slipped
their petaled outlines
and escaped.

Alice Friman  

Alice Friman was named 2012 Georgia Author of the Year for Poetry for her latest collection, Vinculum . A recipient of a Pushcart prize, she serves as Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College in Milledgeville.

Copyright © 2013 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Alice Friman. "Adrienne Rich, and: Transfixed." Southern Review 49.4 (2013): 524-525. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Oct. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Friman, A.(2013). Adrienne Rich, and: Transfixed. Southern Review 49(4), 524-525. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved October 10, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Alice Friman. "Adrienne Rich, and: Transfixed." Southern Review 49, no. 4 (2013): 524-525. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed October 10, 2013).
T1 - Adrienne Rich, and: Transfixed
A1 - Alice Friman
JF - Southern Review
VL - 49
IS - 4
SP - 524
EP - 525
PY - 2013
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v049/49.4.friman.html
N1 - Volume 49, Number 4, Autumn 2013
ER -


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