Time-Travel —Sharon Olds
I have learned to go back and walk
and find the windows and doors.
it is hot, the pines are black, the
laps. It is 1955 and I am
looking for my father.
I walk from a small room to a big
through a doorway. The walls and floors are
full of splinters.
I come upon him.
I can possess him like this, the
rising and falling on his big
his big solid secret body
where he puts the bourbon.
He belongs to me forever like
the red plaid shirt, the baggy
the long perfectly turned
the soft padded hands folded across his
the hair dark as a burnt
the domed, round eyes
the firm mouth. Sleeping it
in the last summer the family was
I have learned to walk
so quietly into that summer
no one knows I am there. He
easy as a baby. Upstairs
mother weeps. Out in the
my brother reads my diary. My
is changing boyfriends somewhere in a
and down by the shore of the lake there is a
twelve years old, watching the
fold and disappear. I walk up behind
I touch her shoulder, she turns her
I see my face. She looks through me,
up at the house. This is the one I
come for. I gaze in her eyes, the
thick as the air in hell, curling
over and over. She does not
any of this will ever stop.
She does not know she is the