She was so afraid
Since her mother, white with time,
Told her
She was a failure.

She was so ashamed
Of everything she said
And everything she did
For her mother, white with time.

Everything around her mother
White with time.
And dirty.
Her mother was greedy with dirt.

Then she heard choirs of angels,
Singing choirs of angels,
Greedy angels,
Spitting glory on her failure.

That stardust of failure,
As if it was medicine
That didn’t work,

The windows they were closed
And the midwives had locked their doors.
They didn’t understand.

And after all what was there to understand?
But the angels, sheer choirs of angels,
In a friendship.
No, more than a friendship,
It was a marriage, a marriage made in the grave.

In shivering night,
The searching of the river continued.

The bullet of searchlight,
That searchlight found her so cockleshell and sure,
Sick and tired of what she saw,
But cockleshell and sure.

Sure of what the world had offered a tired soul.
From Istanbul to Madrid,
From Reykjavik, to Bonn,
To Leipzig, to Leningrad,
To Shanghai, Pnonm Penh,
All so that it would be a stronger world
A strong though loving world to die in.