Looking as Iโ€™ve looked before, straight down the heart
of the street to the river
walking the rivers of the avenues
feeling the shudder of the caves beneath the asphalt
watching the lights turn on in the towers
walking as Iโ€™ve walked before
like a man, like a woman, in the city
my visionary anger cleaning my slight
and the detailed perceptions of mercy
flowering from that anger

if I come into a room out of the sharp misty light
and hear them talking a dead language
if they ask me my identity
what can I say but
I am the androgyne
I am the living mind you fail to describe
in your dead language
the lost noun, the verb surviving
only in the infinitive
the letters of my name are written under the lids
of the newborn child

[Adrienne Rich, 1972]

Berlin in shades of gray, Oct/Nov 2022

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