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The Arrivals Analysis

Author: poem of Sharon Olds Type: poem Views: 13

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I pull the bed slowly open, I

open the lips of the bed, get

the stack of fresh underpants

out of the suitcase—peach, white,

cherry, quince, pussy willow, I

choose a color and put them on,

I travel with the stack for the stack's caress,

dry and soft. I enter the soft

birth-lips of the bed, take off my

glasses, and the cabbage-roses on the curtain

blur to Keats's peonies, the

ochre willow holds a cloud

the way a skeleton holds flesh

and it passes, does not hold it.

The bed fits me like a walnut shell its

meat, my hands touch the upper corners,

the lower, my feet. It is so silent

I hear the choirs of wild silence, the

maenads of the atoms. Is this what it feels like

to have a mother? The sheets are heavy

cream, whipped. Ah, here is my mother,

or rather here she is not, so this is

paradise. But surely that

was paradise, when her Jell-O nipple was the

size of my own fist, in front of my

face—out of its humped runkles those

several springs of milk, so fierce

almost fearsome. What did I think

in that brain gridded for thought, its cups

loaded with languageless rennet? And at night,

when they timed me, four hours of screaming, not a

minute more, four, those quatrains of

icy yell, then the cold tap water

to get me over my shameless hunger,

what was it like to be there when that

hunger was driven into my structure at such

heat it alloyed that iron? Where have I

been while this person is leading my life

with her patience, will and order? In the garden;

on the bee and under the bee; in the

crown gathering cumulus and

flensing it from the boughs, weeping a

rehearsal for the rotting and casting off of our

flesh, the year we slowly throw it

off like clothing by the bed covers of our lover, and dive under.

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