Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

Voices


(for Lucille)

Our voices race to the towers, and up beyond
the atmosphere, to the satellite,
slowly turning, then back down
to another tower, and cell. Quincy,
Toi, Honoree, Sarah, Dorianne,
Galway. When Athena Elizalex calls,
I tell her I'm missing Lucille's dresses,
and her shoes, and Elizabeth says 'And she would say,
'Damn! I do look good!'' After we
hang up, her phone calls me again
from inside her jacket, in the grocery store
with her elder son, eleven, I cannot
hear the words, just part of the matter
of the dialogue, it's about sugar, I am
in her pocket like a spirit. Then I dream it —
looking at an illuminated city
from a hill, at night, and suddenly
the lights go out — like all the stars
gone out. 'Well, if there is great sex
in heaven,' we used to say, 'or even just
sex, or one kiss, what's wrong
with that?!' Then I'm dreaming a map of the globe, with
bright pinpoints all over it —
in the States, the Caribbean, Latin America,
in Europe, and in Africa —
everywhere a poem of hers is being
read. Small comfort. Not small
to the girl who curled against the wall around the core
of her soul, keeping it alive, with long
labor, then unfolded into the hard truths, the
lucid beauty, of her song.

15 Feb '10

Submitted: Saturday, November 19, 2011

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