Never to Dream of Spiders

By Audre Lorde 1934–1992 Audre Lorde
Time collapses between the lips of strangers   
my days collapse into a hollow tube
soon implodes against now
like an iron wall
my eyes are blocked with rubble
a smear of perspectives
blurring each horizon
in the breathless precision of silence
one word is made.

Once the renegade flesh was gone   
fall air lay against my face
sharp and blue as a needle
but the rain fell through October   
and death lay    a condemnation   
within my blood.

The smell of your neck in August   
a fine gold wire bejeweling war   
all the rest lies
illusive as a farmhouse
on the other side of a valley
vanishing in the afternoon.

Day three    day four    day ten   
the seventh step
a veiled door leading to my golden anniversary   
flameproofed free-paper shredded   
in the teeth of a pillaging dog   
never to dream of spiders   
and when they turned the hoses upon me
a burst of light.

Audre Lorde, “Never to Dream of Spiders” from The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. Copyright © 1997 by Audre Lorde. Reprinted with the permission of Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1997)

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Poet Audre Lorde 1934–1992

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Audre  Lorde

Biography

A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing the injustices of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Her poetry, and “indeed all of her writing,” according to contributor Joan Martin in Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, “rings with passion, sincerity, perception, and depth of feeling.” Concerned with modern . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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