“loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine . . .”
                —Walt Whitman

        “I trust all joy.”
                —Theodore Roethke

I, Erica Jong, in the midst of my life,
        having had two parents, two sisters,
        two husbands, two books of poems
        & three decades of pain,

        having cried for those who did not love me
        & those who loved me—but not enough
        & those whom I did not love—
        declare myself now for joy.

There is pain enough to nourish us everywhere;
        it is joy that is scarce.

There are corpses piled up to the mountains,
        & tears to drown in,
        & bile enough to swallow all day long.