A Poem by Sharon Olds

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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.

TIME 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, [Read more...]

Time-Travel by Sharon Olds

yellow torn kitchen

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Time-Travel     —Sharon Olds
 
 
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 floors 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.