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Authors: Marge Piercy

Made in Detroit

BOOK: Made in Detroit
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ALSO BY MARGE PIERCY

POETRY

The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems

The Crooked Inheritance

Colors Passing Through Us

The Art of Blessing the Day

Early Grrrl

What Are Big Girls Made Of?

Mars and Her Children

Available Light

My Mother’s Body

Stone, Paper, Knife

Circles on the Water
(Selected poems)

The Moon Is Always Female

The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing

Living in the Open

To Be of Use

4-Telling
(with Bob Hershon, Emmett Jarrett and Dick Lourie)

Hard Loving

Breaking Camp

NOVELS

Sex Wars

The Third Child

Three Women

Storm Tide
(with Ira Wood)

City of Darkness, City of Light

The Longings of Women

He, She and It

Summer People

Gone to Soldiers

Fly Away Home

Braided Lives
(republished 2013)

Vida
(republished 2011)

The High Cost of Living

Woman on the Edge of Time

Small Changes

Dance the Eagle to Sleep
(republished 2012)

Small Changes

OTHER

The Cost of Lunch, Etc
. (A collection of short stories)

Pesach for the Rest of Us

So You Want to Write: How to Master the Craft of Writing Fiction and Personal Narrative
(with Ira Wood), 1st & 2nd editions

The Last White Class: A Play
(with Ira Wood)

Sleeping with Cats: A Memoir

Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt
(Essays)

Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now
(Anthology)

THIS IS A BORZOI BOOK
PUBLISHED BY ALFRED A. KNOPF

Copyright 2015 © by Marge Piercy

All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC, New York, and in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, Penguin Random House companies.

www.aaknopf.com/poetry

Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House LLC.

Original publication information for the previously published poems included in this collection is located on
this page
.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Piercy, Marge.
[Poems. Selections]
Made in Detroit : poems / Marge Piercy. — First edition.
pages; cm
“This is a Borzoi Book.”
ISBN 978-0-385-35388-5 (hardcover) — ISBN 978-0-385-35389-2 (ebook)
I. Title.
PS8566.I4A6 2015
811’.54—dc23
2014026429

Jacket image:
Library
, courtesy of Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber
Jacket design by Abby Weintraub

v3.1

CONTENTS
I
Made in Detroit
Made in Detroit

My first lessons were kisses and a hammer.

I was fed with mother’s milk and rat poison.

I learned to walk on a tightrope over a pit

where snakes’ warnings were my rattles.

The night I was born the sky burned red

over Detroit and sirens sharpened their knives.

The elms made tents of solace over grimy

streets and alley cats purred me to sleep.

I dived into books and their fables

closed over my head and hid me.

Libraries were my cathedrals. Librarians

my priests promising salvation.

I was formed by beating like a black

smith’s sword, and my edge is still

sharp enough to cut both you and me.

I sought love in dark and dusty corners

and sometimes I even found it

however briefly. Every harsh, every

tender word entered my flesh and lives

there still, bacteria inside my gut.

I suckled Detroit’s steel tits. When

I escaped to college I carried it with

me, shadow and voice, pressure

that hardened me to coal and flame.

The frontroom

In the tiny livingroom of my parents’ house

that my mother, brought up in tenements

always called the frontroom, stood

a maroon couch with rough itchy

upholstery that marked my tender

thighs if ever I sat on it.

On every surface, wooden shoes,

Eiffel tower, leather teepee,

ceramic dolls in costume—

souvenirs of places they had

gone or she wished she had.

She hated an empty space.

Emptiness meant poverty. With

money she would have collected

paintings, objets d’art which these

were to her, emblems of times away

from our asbestos shack where she

imagined a richer life. Out of library

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