Reunion

By Carolyn Forché b. 1950 Carolyn Forche

Just as he changes himself, in the end eternity changes him.
—Mallarmé

On the phonograph, the voice
of a woman already dead for three
decades, singing of a man
who could make her do anything.   
On the table, two fragile   
glasses of black wine,
a bottle wrapped in its towel.   
It is that room, the one
we took in every city, it is
as I remember: the bed, a block   
of moonlight and pillows.   
My fingernails, pecks of light   
on your thighs.
The stink of the fire escape.   
The wet butts of cigarettes   
you crushed one after another.   
How I watched the morning come   
as you slept, more my son   
than a man ten years older.   
How my breasts feel, years   
later, the tongues swishing   
in my dress, some yours, some   
left by other men.
Since then, I have always   
wakened first, I have learned   
to leave a bed without being   
seen and have stood
at the washbasins, wiping oil   
and salt from my skin,
staring at the cupped water   
in my two hands.
I have kept everything
you whispered to me then.
I can remember it now as I see you   
again, how much tenderness we could   
wedge between a stairwell   
and a police lock, or as it was,   
as it still is, in the voice
of a woman singing of a man
who could make her do anything.

Carolyn Forché, “Reunion” from The Country Between Us. Copyright © 1981 by Carolyn Forché. Reprinted with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Country Between Us (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1982)

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Poet Carolyn Forché b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Music, Love, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

 Carolyn  Forché

Biography

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1950, poet, teacher and activist Carolyn Forché has witnessed, thought about, and put into poetry some of the most devastating events of twentieth-century world history. According to Joyce Carol Oates in the New York Times Book Review, Forché’s ability to wed the “political” with the “personal” places her in the company of such poets as Pablo Neruda, Philip Levine, and Denise Levertov.

An articulate . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Music, Love, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Desire, Realistic & Complicated

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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