“After 37 Years My Mother Apologizes for My Childhood” by Sharon Olds

IMG_9391When you tilted toward me, arms out
like someone trying to walk through a fire,
when you swayed toward me, crying out you were
sorry for what you had done to me, your
eyes filling with terrible liquid like
balls of mercury from a broken thermometer
skidding on the floor, when you quietly screamed
Where else could I turn? Who else did I have? the
chopped crockery of your hands swinging toward me, the
water cracking from your eyes like moisture from
stones under heavy pressure, I could not
see what I would do with the rest of my life.
The sky seemed to be splintering, like a window
someone is bursting into or out of, your
tiny face glittered as if with
shattered crystal, with true regret, the
regret of the body. I could not see what my
days would be, with you sorry, with
you wishing you had not done it, the
sky falling around me, its shards
glistening in my eyes, your old, soft
body fallen against me in horror I
took you in my arms, I said It’s all right,
don’t cry, it’s all right, the air filled with
flying glass, I hardly knew what I
said or who I would be now that I had forgiven you.

“After 37 Years My Mother Apologizes for My Childhood” by Sharon Olds from Strike Sparks. © Knopf, 2004.

This entry was posted in mother, motherhood, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “After 37 Years My Mother Apologizes for My Childhood” by Sharon Olds

  1. Jerome Bloom says:

    Thank You

  2. Pingback: Who Am I, Anyway? | Susie Meserve

  3. Pingback: Column: Searching for clues about my father in a poetry file he left behind - Country Highlights

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