Two poems by Jane Barnes

Mar 1, 2023 | 2023 Spring - Bodily Autonomy, Privacy, and Choice, 2, Poetry

First Night / Cambridgeport, 1977

She and I lay on her bed
watching “Persona” the couple
fights weeps fights She said
I hate this part Me, too I said

I leaned my head on her shoulder
and she leaned her head on mine;
we watched the screen, end
of the film, a silence, the clank and

hiss of the radiator. I said
do you think…? I do, she
said, but how would you feel if
it were just this once?

That’s okay, I said, sad but delirious
with joy, as if someone’d said
We’ve found one of your friends
Dead—but the other one’s just fine.


District of Calm

No more adolescent rebellion in the brain,

when anything was possible, everything
spectacular. I nap now in the afternoons,

love two things only like everyone else:

one being, one doing and even my air is
organized, the clock counting my hour,

my body bending, one stem to one rose.


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