Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

A Week Later - Poem by Sharon Olds

A week later, I said to a friend: I don't
think I could ever write about it.
Maybe in a year I could write something.
There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school. And in my dream
someone was playing jacks, and in the air there was a
huge, thrown, tilted jack
on fire. And when I woke up, I found myself
counting the days since I had last seen
my husband-only two years, and some weeks,
and hours. We had signed the papers and come down to the
ground floor of the Chrysler Building,
the intact beauty of its lobby around us
like a king's tomb, on the ceiling the little
painted plane, in the mural, flying. And it
entered my strictured heart, this morning,
slightly, shyly as if warily,
untamed, a greater sense of the sweetness
and plenty of his ongoing life,
unknown to me, unseen by me,
unheard, untouched-but known, seen,
heard, touched. And it came to me,
for moments at a time, moment after moment,
to be glad for him that he is with the one
he feels was meant for him. And I thought of my
mother, minutes from her death, eighty-five
years from her birth, the almost warbler
bones of her shoulder under my hand, the
eggshell skull, as she lay in some peace
in the clean sheets, and I could tell her the best
of my poor, partial love, I could sing her
out with it, I saw the luck
and luxury of that hour.


Anonymous submission.


Comments about A Week Later by Sharon Olds

  • Anil Kumar Panda (11/19/2016 9:29:00 AM)


    A love that bloomed releasing fragrance of youth and ending in a sad note at the death bed of mother has been penned nicely. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
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  • Birgitta Abimbola Heikka (11/19/2016 9:01:00 AM)

    A Week Later
    Nice poem. I did not understand it at first. It’s about something lost (I think) . Like the reference of the lobby to the beauty of a king’s tomb—silent and dead but there is still a beauty about it. (Report) Reply

  • R Soos (11/19/2016 8:58:00 AM)

    many stories
    so many stories stashed quickly into a single poem - tough to do convincingly - and Sharon pulls it off. (Report) Reply

  • (11/19/2016 7:48:00 AM)


    A beautifully conceived meaningful write full of emotional out-bursts. Congrats on modern Poem of the Day. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (11/19/2016 3:22:00 AM)

    That hour
    Playing jacks! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • (5/15/2014 10:27:00 AM)


    So much feeling in this heartfelt write. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: husband, school, birth, peace, friend, mother, beauty, dream, fire, death



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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