December 7, 1963

White morning flows into the mirror.
Her eye, still old with sleep,
meets itself like a sister.

How they slept last night,
the dream that caged them back to back,
was nothing new.

Last words, tears, most often
come wrapped as the everyday
familiar failure.

Now, pulling the comb slowly
through her loosened hair,
she tries to find the parting;

it must come out after all:
hidden in all that tangle
there is a way.

This article is part of The Nation’s 150th Anniversary Special Issue. Download a free PDF of the issue, with articles by James Baldwin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn and many more, here.

Over a half-century, Adrienne Rich (1929–2012) wrote twenty-two poems for The Nation and several reviews and essays, including a 2002 piece exploring the meaning of “antiwar.”