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One Year Analysis

Author: Poetry of Sharon Olds Type: Poetry Views: 313

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1992When I got to his marker, I sat on it,

like sitting on the edge of someone's bedand I rubbed the smooth, speckled granite.

I took some tears from my jaw and neck

and started to wash a corner of his stone.

Then a black and amber ant

ran out onto the granite, and off it,

and another ant hauled a dead

ant onto the stone, leaving it, and not coming back.

Ants ran down into the grooves of his name

and dates, down into the oval track of thefirst name's O, middle name's O,

the short O of his last name,

and down into the hyphen between

his birth and death--little trough of his life.

Soft bugs appeared on my shoes,

like grains of pollen, I let them move on me,

I rinsed a dark fleck of mica,

and down inside the engraved letters

the first dots of lichen were appearing

like stars in early evening.

I saw the speedwell on the ground with its horns,

the coiled ferns, copper-beech blossoms, each

petal like that disc of matter which

swayed, on the last day, on his tongue.

Tamarack, Western hemlock,

manzanita, water birch

with its scored bark,

I put my arms around a trunk and squeezed it,

then I lay down on my father's grave.

The sun shone down on me, the powerful

ants walked on me. When I woke,

my cheek was crumbly, yellowishwith a mustard plaster of earth. Only

at the last minute did I think of his body

actually under me, the can ofbone, ash, soft as a goosedown

pillow that bursts in bed with the lovers.

When I kissed his stone it was not enough,

when I licked it my tongue went dry a moment, Iate his dust, I tasted my dirt host.


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