Another open-link night over at dVerse Poets Pub, with a beautiful share on the late Adrienne Rich.  Come join in the sharing at Open Link Night 38.   Thanks dVerse!


There are endless days and nights

when the fever is at its peak, when the sheets

are still dry, tangled in the legs, awaiting its break.


There are endless days and nights

of infection seeping out your pores, as cells

proliferate and the mind expels the waste

through sweat and tears, as light comes

swirling out of the dark.


These are the stuff my poems are made on.


But what of now?  What of the time unspent,

endless days of watching clocks or racing

up the afternoons in a frenzy

to chase away a possible new fever pitch,

wishing for the wet moments when it breaks,

taking me away from myself and into an illness.


What am I without difficult degrees?


My heart waiting and waiting,

looking in the mirror at a face

I can’t recognize, too disenchanted

by what’s left, what awaits, by all else

moving moving forward together


I remember thinking to myself my first

night in the hospital

well at least I’ve got new material to write about

To be an illness or scar

is at least something.  A form of someone with

a clear goal, a clear ache, a clear infection.

Not this woman who, once passing clarity

or the long division of a stretched body,

waits unsettled in still time

waiting and waiting for sunlight

through her kitchen curtains to

show her something.






9 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. Balancing the overall melancholy of this poem are the wonderful facets of inspiration shining in this – “the long division of a stretched body” – that make me stop, bring it up to the light, and admire.


  2. i so can feel this amy….unsettled in still time, waiting for sunlight through the kitchen curtains…the hanging in this in between space when the infection already spreads…your work always touch on deep levels..


  3. Hi Amy — “What am I without difficult degrees?” sounds so much like Rilke when he refused psychoanalysis, saying (I paraphrase from memory) “if you take away my demons, you rob me too of my angels,” and that’s the rub. If poetry has its most vital fuse in our varied destructions, what are we without the riot of the rot? Yet the angel singing in the sickness I think is there not to wing us downward into chaos (that’s the demon’s job), but to help us lift and distance us enough to get some of it — eventually, perhaps, enough — down on the page. To give us the words. My cousin’s schizophrenic, and relapses have been so hard to recover from because reality is so damn black and white and colorless compared to the wild fantasias of madness. Yet she struggles back, eventually learning to accept the meds and re-enter her life because she truly does love it enough to live without the crashing colors. It’s like an alcoholic learning to live sober — it doesn’t work until he learns to love sobriety, which, I think the angel helps color and augment with the beauty that heals. Eden is found by giving names for it in the difficult and ordinary and everyday. Just my opinion; anyhoo, great to see you writing on and through. – Brendan


  4. i hear you…between the verbs what happens…and is it worth writing about…i woudl think that some times it is…as it shows the balance of life…and honestly i have to find comfort with that as well in life…


  5. What am I without difficult degrees? – this is key; if i cant relate to this V. memorable and note worthy line then i might as well stop reading….
    insightful, illuminating and familiar in a sense of tuned in recognition
    which gripped and i ultimatley felt hope – thats a gift 🙂

    thanks amy


  6. Sometimes it seems only what’s wrong defines us, a negativity, and yet you can’t develop a photo, bring out the colors, without that negative always at the back of it(or at least you couldn’t used to–with digital cameras who knows, but I refuse to waste a good metaphor! ;_) ) the dark defines much, but having lived in darkness, with darkness, and in conflict with darkness, the drama and even the pain eventually wears itself out, and that calm that comes through the curtains carries peace and healing. So, like the photo I dragged in to begin with, the colors come out of the black and white, and the final picture contains both, but no one notices the negative because its overlaid with life. This is a difficult poem with its sense of physical and mental malaise, but the honesty and the hope within it seem in the end, its defining attributes to me.



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