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You, Again

Some nights I think you want too much. From me. I didn’t ask

to parse again your idioms of littered

parking lots your chain-linked crane-hung sites

limp again through your crime-scene-festooned streets

to buildings I used to live in. Lose my nerve

at a wrong door on the wrong floor

in search of a time. The precision of dream is not

such a privilege. I know those hallways tiled in patterns

of oriental rugs those accordion-pleated

elevator gates. Know by heart the chipped

edges on some of those tiles. You who require this

heart-squandering want me wandering you, craving

to press a doorbell hear a lock turn, a bolt slide back

—always too much, over and over back

to the old apartment, wrong again, the key maybe

left with a super who rules the dream and will not be found

Adrienne Rich is the author of more than sixteen volumes of poetry and five nonfiction prose books, the most recent being A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society (Norton). She is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the 1999 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

2010, Volume 61, Issue 11 (April)
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