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



poem walking to and fro all night





unto and contra

First published at Monthly Review (2008)


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