["What we live"]

pppppppppppppp What we live
before the life is turned off
is what prevents the light from being turned off.
In the marrow, in the nerve, in nightgowned exhaustion,
to secure the heart,
hoping my intention whole, I leave nothing
behind, drag nakedness to the brisker air of the garden.

What the sweeper has not swept gathers
to delay all my striving. But here I arrive
with the first stars: the flame in each
hanging like a trophy in the lull just before
the hours, those antagonists
that haunt and confiscate
what the hardware of slumber draws below.

An excerpt of "The quotidian" from THE END OF THE ALPHABET (Grove Press, 1998)


Poems by Claudia Rankine

["As if I craved error, as if love was ahistorical"]

["What we live"]

The Room is a Fountain in Experience