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.
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
*Image by Yvette Inufio at Etsy