Published on Academy of American Poets (


You came in a dream, yesterday
—The first day we met
you showed me your dark workroom
off the kitchen, your books, your notebooks.

Reading our last, knowing-last letters
—the years of our friendship
reading our poems to each other,
I would start breathing again.

Yesterday, in the afternoon,
more than a year since you died,
some words came into the air.
I looked away a second,
and they were gone,
six lines, just passing through.

                                          for Adrienne Rich


Copyright © 2013 by Jean Valentine. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on November 27, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"This is a poem that I wrote last May, more than a year after Adrienne Rich's death, and have only just finished (if it is finished). Adrienne was my first woman poet friend; we met because when my first book was published, in 1965, she read it & wrote me a letter. That was an act of generosity that was characteristic of her forever."
—Jean Valentine


Jean Valentine

The author of many collections of poetry, Jean Valentine has received such honors as the National Book Award, the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Date Published: 2013-11-27

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