A Poem by Sharon Olds

This poem by Sharon Olds comes from her amazing book, Satan Says.

Let me know what you think.  It’s probably one of my favorite poems out there; I’ll never forget it.

 

yvetteinufio9TIME TRAVEL

I have learned to go back and walk around

and find the windows and doors.  Outside

it is hot, the pines are black, the lake

laps.  It is 1955 and I am

looking for my father.

I walk from a small room to a big one

through a doorway.  The walls and floor are pine,

full of splinters.

I come upon him.

I can possess him like this, the funnies

rising and falling on his big stomach,

his big solid secret body

where he puts the bourbon.

He belongs to me forever like this,

the red plaid shirt, the baggy pants,

the long perfectly turned legs,

the soft padded hands folded across his body,

the hair dark as a burnt match,

the domed, round eyes closed,

the firm mouth.  Sleeping it off

in the last summer the family was together.

I have learned to walk

so quietly into that summer

no one knows I am there.  He rests

easy as a baby.  Upstairs

mother weeps.  Out in the tent

my brother reads my diary.  My sister

is changing boyfriends somewhere in a car

and down by the shore of the lake there is a girl

twelve years old, watching the water

fold and disappear.  I walk up behind her,

I touch her shoulder, she turns her head–

I see my face.  She looks through me

up at the house.  This is the one I have

come for.  I gaze in her eyes, the waves,

thick as the air in hell, curling in

over and over.  She does not know

any of this will ever stop.

She does not know she is the one

survivor.

 

*Image by Yvette Inufio at Etsy

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