Peeling Onions – Adrienne Rich

 

Red onion slices

 

Only to have a grief

equal to all these tears!

 

There’s not a sob in my chest.

Dry-hearted as Peer Gynt

 

I pare away, no hero,

merely a cook.

 

Crying was labor, once

when I’d good cause.

Walking, I felt my eyes like wounds

raw in my head,

so postal-clerks, I thought, must stare.

A dog’s look, a cat’s, burnt to my brain–

yet all that stayed

stuff in my lungs like smog.

 

These old tears in the chopping-bowl.

 

Adrienne Rich.

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