Hubble Photographs: After Sappho – Adrienne Rich

It should be the most desired sight of all

the person with whom you hope to live and die

walking into a room, turning to look at you, sight for sight

Should be yet I say there is something

more desirable: the ex-stasis of galaxies

so out from us there’s no vocabulary

but mathematics and optics

equations letting sight pierce through time

into liberations, lacerations of light and dust

exposed like a body’s cavity, violet green livid and venous, gorgeous

—beyond good and evil as ever stained into dream

beyond remorse, disillusion, fear of death

or life, rage

for order, rage for destruction

beyond this love which stirs

the air every time she walks into the room

These impersonae, however we call them

won’t invade us as on movie screens

they are so old, so new, we are not to them

we look at them or don’t from within the milky gauze

of our tilted gazing

but they don’t look back and we cannot hurt them