We played dolls in that house where Father staggered with the
Thanksgiving knife, where Mother wept at noon into her one ounce of
cottage cheese, praying for the strength not to
kill herself. We kneeled over the
rubber bodies, gave them baths
carefully, scrubbed their little
orange hands, wrapped them up tight,
said goodnight, never spoke of the
woman like a gaping wound
weeping on the stairs, the man like a stuck
buffalo, baffled, stunned, dragging
arrows in his side. As if we had made a
pact of silence and safety, we kneeled and
dressed those tiny torsos with their elegant
belly-buttons and minuscule holes
high on the buttock to pee through and all that
darkness in their open mouths, so that I
have not been able to forgive you for giving your
daughter away, letting her go at
eight as if you took Molly Ann or
Tiny Tears and held her head
under the water in the bathinette
until no bubbles rose, or threw her
dark rosy body on the fire that
burned in that house where you and I
barely survived, sister, where we
swore to be protectors.


About Sharon Olds


Life Sharon Olds was born in 1942 in San Francisco. She was raised as a “hellfire Calvinist”, as she describes it. She says she was by nature "a pagan and a pantheist" and notes "I was in a church where there was both great literary art and bad literary art, the great art being psalms and the bad art being hymns. The four-beat was something that was just part of my consciousness from before I was born." She adds "I think I was about 15 when I conceived of myself as an atheist, but I think it was only very... Read more...

Poet of the day

George Canning PC, FRS was a British statesman and politician who served as Foreign Secretary and briefly Prime Minister.

Early life: 1770–1793

Canning was born into an Anglo-Irish family at his parents' home in Queen Anne Street, Marylebone, London. Canning described himself as "an Irishman born in London". His father,...
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Poem of the day


Daß Dir zum Ernste des Lebens die Lust an den Spielen der Musen
Freundliche Götter gewährt, Schönes dem Guten gesellt:
Nicht die schlechteste Gabe der Himmlischen ist′s, und Du selber
Freue Dich deß, in der Brust blüht Dir ein ewiger Lenz!
Früchte des Herbstes gewinnt auch...
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