Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The End


We decided to have the abortion, became
killers together. The period that came
changed nothing. They were dead, that young couple
who had been for life.
As we talked of it in bed, the crash
was not a surprise. We went to the window,
looked at the crushed cars and the gleaming
curved shears of glass as if we had
done it. Cops pulled the bodies out
Bloody as births from the small, smoking
aperture of the door, laid them
on the hill, covered them with blankets that soaked
through. Blood
began to pour
down my legs into my slippers. I stood
where I was until they shot the bound
form into the black hole
of the ambulance and stood the other one
up, a bandage covering its head,
stained where the eyes had been.
The next morning I had to kneel
an hour on that floor, to clean up my blood,
rubbing with wet cloths at those glittering
translucent spots, as one has to soak
a long time to deglaze the pan
when the feast is over.


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Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Rookie V.e. Perkins (11/29/2013 5:38:00 PM)

    One wants only to escape from a poet who sees so far into one's life and into all its insufferable connections.
    I never thought before of abortion being such a terrifying metaphor, as in Shock and awe aborted the development of Iraq; after catastrophe, no recovery, and no rebirth. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 243 Points Bill Grace (4/22/2006 11:21:00 PM)

    Poetry of such power it leaves me dizzy after only a second reading. Bill Grace (Report) Reply

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