Monday, April 20, 2015

Daughter


Elizabeth sent me a wonderful poem this morning, knowing no doubt that it would capture something of my own feeling about my daughter, who is is no longer 17 and on the verge of leaving high school, but 21 and on the verge of becoming a college senior. Even so, this poem by Sharon Olds expresses just how it was, and how it still is.


High School Senior

For seventeen years, her breath in the house
at night, puff, puff, like summer
cumulus above her bed,
and her scalp smelling of apricots
— this being who had formed within me,
squatted like a wide-eyed tree-frog in the night,
like an eohippus she had come out of history
slowly, through me, into the daylight,
I had the daily sight of her,
like food or air she was there, like a mother.
I say “college,” but I feel as if I cannot tell
the difference between her leaving for college
and our parting forever — I try to see
this apartment without her, without her pure
depth of feeling, without her creek-brown
hair, her daedal hands with their tapered
fingers, her pupils brown as the mourning cloak's
wing, but I can't. Seventeen years
ago, in this room, she moved inside me,
I looked at the river, I could not imagine
my life with her. I gazed across the street,
And saw, in the icy winter sun,
a column of steam rush up away from the earth.
There are creatures whose children float away
at birth, and those who throat-feed their young for
weeks and never see them again. My daughter
is free and she is in me — no, my love
of her is in me, moving in my heart,
changing chambers, like something poured
from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.

Sharon Olds

2 comments:

  1. Yes. That is perfectly perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This poem so captures what you've written about your daughter over time. It is jut beautiful... Like you and her.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...