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The Sash Analysis

Author: poem of Sharon Olds Type: poem Views: 12

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The first ones were attached to my dress

at the waist, one on either side,

right at the point where hands could clasp you and

pick you up, as if you were a hot

squeeze bottle of tree syrup, and the

sashes that emerged like axil buds from the

angles of the waist were used to play horses, that

racing across the cement while someone

held your reins and you could feel your flesh

itself in your body wildly streaming.

You would come home, a torn-off sash

dangling from either hand, a snake-charmer—

each time, she sewed them back on with

thicker thread, until the seams of

sash and dress bulged like little

knots of gristle at your waist as you walked, you could

feel them like thumbs pressing into your body.

The next sash was the one Thee, Hannah!

borrowed from her be-ribboned friend

and hid in a drawer and got salve on it,

salve on a sash, like bacon grease on a snake,

God's lard on the ribbon a Quaker girl

should not want, Satan's jism on

silk delicate as the skin of a young girl's genital.

When Hannah gave up satin her father

told her she was beautiful

just as God made her. But all sashes

lead to the sash, very sash of

very sash, begotten, not made, that my

aunt sent from Switzerland—

cobalt ripple of Swiss cotton with

clean boys and girls dancing on it.

I don't know why my mother chose it to

tie me to the chair with, her eye just

fell on it, but the whole day I

felt those blue children dance

around my wrists. Later someone

told me they had found out

the universe is a kind of strip that

twists around and joins itself, and I believe it,

sometimes I can feel it, the way we are

pouring slowly toward a curve and around it

through something dark and soft, and we are bound to

     each other.

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