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For the Record
poetry [ ]

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by [Adrienne_Rich ]

2009-07-29  |     |  Submited by jkloungsuh



The clouds and the stars didn't wage this war
the brooks gave no information
if the mountains spewed stones of fire into the river
it was not taking sides
the raindrop faintly swaying under the leaf
had no political opinions

and if there were a house
filled with backed-up raw sewage
or poisoned those who lived there
with slow fumes, over years
the houses were not at war
nor did the tinned up buildings

intend to refuse shelter
to homeless old women and roaming children
they had no policy to keep from roaming
or dying, no, cities were not the problem
the bridges were non-partisan
the freeways burned, but not with hatred

Even miles of barbed-wire
stretched around crouching temporary huts
designed to keep the unwanted
at a safe distance, out of sight
even the boards, that had to absorb
year upon year, so many human sounds

so many depths of vomit, tears slow-soaking blood
had not offered themselves for this
The trees didn't volunteer to be cut into boards
nor the thorns for tearing flesh
Look around at all of it

and ask whose signature
is stamped on the orders, traced
in the corner of the building plans
Ask where the illiterate, big-bellied
women were, the drunks and the crazies,
the ones you fear most of all: ask where you were.

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