I awoke this morning in the knowing that my Eliza, home from college for the holiday, was upstairs in her bed. It surprises me how, even in sleep, her presence permeates the air—as if the house itself rejoices with us. Everything feels different.
Peace in my heart and coffee in hand, I opened my email to find this sweetness from my thoughtful friend and soul traveler, Julie Marr. It is remarkable how intimately Julie knows what is going on in my life—she and I are “digital” acquaintances who have never even met. Extraordinary grace, of that I am sure.
Thank you, Julie, again.
by Sharon Olds
When she comes back, from college, I will see
the skin of her upper arms, cool,
matte, glossy. She will hug me, my old
soupy chest against her breasts,
I will smell her hair! She will sleep in this apartment,
her sleep like an untamed, good object,
like a soul in a body. She came into my life the
second great arrival, after him, fresh
from the other world—which lay, from within him,
within me, Those nights, I fed her to sleep,
week after week, the moon rising,
and setting, and waxing—whirling, over the months,
in a slow blur, around our planet.
Now she doesn’t need love like that, she has
had it. She will walk in glowing, we will talk,
and then, when she’s fast asleep, I’ll exult
to have her in that room again,
behind that door! As a child, I caught
bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds,
looked into their wild faces,
listened to them sing, then tossed them back
into the air—I remember the moment the
arc of my toss swerved, and they entered
the corrected curve of their departure.
“First Thanksgiving” by Sharon Olds, from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2004.