Emergency Clinic – poetry by Adrienne Rich

 

Emergency Clinic

 

Caustic implacable

poem   unto and contra:

 

I do not soothe minor

injuries    I do

not offer   I require 

                               close history

of the case    apprentice-

ship in past and fresh catastrophe

 

The skin too quickly scabbed

mutters for my debriding

 

For every bandaged wound

I’ll scrape another  open

 

I won’t smile

                        while wiping

your tears   

                  I do not give

simplehearted  love and nor

allow you simply love me

 

if you accept  regardless

this will be different

 

Iodine-dark

poem walking to and fro all night

 

un-gainly

unreconciled

 

unto and contra

First published at Monthly Review (2008)

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