Our Whole Life

by Adrienne Rich

Our whole life a translation

the permissible fibs

and now a knot of lies

eating at itself to get undone

Words bitten thru words


meanings burnt-off like paint

under the blowtorch

All those dead letters

rendered into the oppressor’s


Trying to tell the doctor where it


like the Algerian

who waled from his village,


his whole body a could of pain

and there are no words for this

except himself

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