Rauschenberg’s Bed

by Adrienne Rich

How a bed once dressed with a kindly quilt becomes
unsleepable site of anarchy   What body-holes expressed
their exaltation loathing exhaustion
what horse of night has pawed those sheets
what talk under the blanket ravelled
what clitoris lain very still in her own subversion
what traveller homeward reached for familiar bedding
and felt stuff tatters under his fingers
How a bed is horizontal yet this is vertical
inarticulate liquids spent from a spectral pillow

How on a summer night someone drives out on the roads
while another one lies ice-packed in dreams of freezing

Sometimes this bed has eyes, sometimes breasts
sometimes eking forth from its laden springs
pity compassion pity again for all they have worn and borne
Sometimes it howls for penis sometimes vagina sometimes
for the nether hole the everywhere

How the children sleep and wake
the children   sleep awake upstairs

How on a single night the driver of roads comes back
into the sweat-cold bed of the dreamer

leans toward what’s there for warmth
human limbs   human crust

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap