“velvet between the tiles”

I came to Adrienne Rich  (1929-2012) through her book Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution, which I leafed through while I was researching my (still, predictably, unfinished) dissertation. Her sharp, sometimes angry voice snared me, and I’m happy to be hooked.

This week I’m learning “She” from Rich’s An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991. “She” is dated 1988. It’s a poem about barriers, collection, cleaning, about the dirtiness and dust that accumulates around us and in us. I like that the poem asks the reader to bring the title (she) back into the poem when a new sentence begins; to me, it feels as if Rich is asking the reader to be, in a small way, a co-writer of the poem, to realize it fully in the reading.

You can purchase the collection here.