Marge Piercy





Rooks were guffawing outside in the oaks
and I ran out to look up at their colony,
a word from chess now feathered, black shining
in their effrontery and communal games.

The house was white columned regency
a stairway that rose like a perfect scale
sung by a soprano with silver voice.
We had the best room Byron slept in.

That evening I seduced you successfully
for the first time on that trip.
I thought it was renewal.  It was the last
throes, a final rite of no passage.

I suckled hope from your mouth,
I gathered you into me to be reborn
as my lover, my best friend, my peer
but the rooks had the unity I craved.

In the morning’s mist grey light
you were angry I had broken through.
You put on armor of pique.  Nits
swirled to be picked and pickled —

always nits can be found under pillows
in the underwear drawer, tucked in
a passport.  I had made love with
the death of love while the rooks cheered.


Copyright © 2004 Marge Piercy.  All Rights Reserved.


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