For a long time unhappy
with my man,
I blamed men,
blamed marriage, blamed
the whole bleeding world,
Because I could not lie in bed with him
without lying to him
or else to myself,
& lying to myself
became increasingly hard
as my poems
struck rock.

My life & my poems lived apart;
I had to marry them,
& marrying them
meant divorcing him,
divorcing the lie.

Now I lie in bed
with my poems on the sheets
& a man I love
sleeping or reading
at my side.

Because I love him,
I do not think of him
as 'Men,'
but as my friend.
Hate generalizes;
love is particular.

He is not Men, man, male-
all those maddening m's
muttering like machine-gun spittle,
but only a person like me,
dreaming, vulnerable, scared,
his dreams
opening into rooms
where the chairs
are wishes you can sit on
& the rugs are wonderful
with oriental birds.

The first month we lived together
I was mad with joy,
thinking that a person with a penis
could dream, tell jokes, even cry.
Now I found it usual,
& when other women sputter
of their rage,
I look at them blankly,
half comprehending
those poor medieval creatures
from a dark, dark age.

I wonder about myself.
Was I always so fickle?
Must politics always be personal?
If I struck oil,
would I crusade
for depletion allowances?

Erica, Erica,
you are hard on yourself.
Lie back & enjoy the cease-fire.

Trouble will come again.
Sex will grow horns & warts.
The white sheets of this bed
will be splattered with blood.
Just wait.

But I don't believe it.
There will be trouble enough,
but a different sort.