Adolescence II

Rita Dove

Although it is night, I sit in the bathroom, waiting.
Sweat prickles behind my knees, the baby-breasts are alert.
Venetian blinds slice up the moon; the tiles quiver in pale strips.
Then they come, the three seal men with eyes as round
As dinner plates and eyelashes like sharpened tines.
They bring the scent of licorice. One sits in the washbowl,
One on the bathtub edge; one leans against the door.
"Can you feel it yet?" they whisper.
I don't know what to say, again. They chuckle,
Patting their sleek bodies with their hands.
"Well, maybe next time." And they rise,
Glittering like pools of ink under moonlight,
And vanish. I clutch at the ragged holes
They leave behind, here at the edge of darkness.
Night rests like a ball of fur on my tongue.
From Selected Poems by Rita Dove, published by Random House. © 1993 by Rita Dove. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Borderline Mambo by Rita Dove
As if the lid stayed put on the marmalade.
from Crossing State Lines [Shirtsleeved afternoons] by Rita Dove
Shirtsleeved afternoons
Ludwig Van Beethoven's Return to Vienna by Rita Dove
Three miles from my adopted city
Reunion 2005 by Rita Dove
The Bistro Styx by Rita Dove
She was thinner, with a mannered gauntness
The Spring Cricket Considers the Question of Negritude by Rita Dove
Under the Viaduct, 1932 by Rita Dove
Vacation by Rita Dove
I love the hour before takeoff
Weathering Out by Rita Dove
She liked mornings the best—Thomas gone