Monday, September 26, 2016

Directly by Sharon Olds


Directly

Then, one late afternoon, 
I understand:  the harm my father 
did us is receding.  I never thought 
it would happen, I thought his harm was stronger than that, 
like God’s harm—flood, or birth without 
eyes, with mounds of tissue, no retina, no 
pupil, the way my father on the couch did not 
seem not to be using eyes 
but not to have them, or to have objects 
for eyes—Jocastal dress-brooches. 
But he had not been hated, so he did not hate us, 
just scorned us, and it is wearing off. 
My son and daughter are grown, they are well 
as if by some miracle.  The afternoon has a 
quality of miracle, the starlings all facing 
the west, his grave.  I come to the window 
as if to open it, and whisper, 
My father’s harm is fading.  Then, 
I think that he would be glad to hear it 
directly from me, 

so I come to where you are, bone 
settled under the dewed tangle 
of the blackish Northwoods moss like the crossroads 
hair of a beloved.  I come to you here 
because it is home:  your done-with body 
broken back down into earth, holding 
its solemn incapable beauty.

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