the bay windbreak, the laburnum hang fire, feel
the ache of things ending in the jasmine darkening early
--Eavan Boland, “The Rooms of Other Women Poets”
I have moved in the rooms of other women poets
and, seeing African violets, checked if they needed water,
careful not to disturb the stolen time in the chairs,
the swivel leather seat, the one with a high cane back.
The desks, if there was one, were bright with circumstance
cast by an Anglepoise lamp, crooked, articulate.
The window might look out on an old monastery
but the door opened its ear to a cry or a creak.
Such rooms I moved in when I move between the men
thick with desire they thrust into another’s hand,
before your face I offer the flower of my mouth,
red in the red light but also out of the red light,
a wild hibiscus impossible to label chaste
if my red mouth is not so chastened by my need.