Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The End - Poem by Sharon Olds

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.


Anonymous submission.


Comments about The End by Sharon Olds

  • Pranab K Chakraborty (5/17/2017 12:07:00 AM)


    ...one has to soak
    a long time to deglaze the pan
    when the feast is over.................

    Unique essence of civilization. Conflicts within conscious perhaps lost its superiority, now conflicts with our physical existence confronting a challenge to survive. Metaphorically good write depending on cruel imagery. Thanks for sharing.
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  • Shimizu Mizuhala (5/16/2017 8:46:00 PM)


    Cruel, tragic and shocking, (Report) Reply

  • Tom Allport (5/16/2017 9:10:00 AM)


    a powerful and descriptive poem of death whether it be by accident or meant? .............superbly written (Report) Reply

  • Lantz Pierre (5/16/2017 4:00:00 AM)


    Unflinching. It starts right in naming abortion as the subject and makes no apologies. First person perspective, uncompromising objectivity. No maudlin sentimentalizing. No feigned feelings or intellectual rationalizing. The power is in the directness. Even as it uses the external crash as metaphor/analogy for the intimacy of the first-person narrative nothing is lost. In fact it gains power by avoiding the possibility of presenting the overly emotional fetus as sacrifice and instead finds a substitute that can be shown without sentimentalizing. And without telling the story. It shows us the pain and gore so that we tap into our emotional reserves without the moralizing overlay. It's brilliantly written, a great example for getting at an extremely difficult subject without beating the reader over the head. The poem is gracefully constructed to allow the reader to do that to him- or herself. (Report) Reply

  • Geoffrey Fafard (5/16/2017 3:11:00 AM)


    This poem makes me shiver.it is a confronting image that breaks one's heart but it is powerfully put down on paper. In its strength I love it. in its depiction I fear it.What a brilliant write. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (5/16/2017 1:53:00 AM)


    With that topic, it had to be powerful. And it was. (Report) Reply

  • Bernard F. Asuncion (5/16/2017 1:14:00 AM)


    The next morning...... thanks for posting..... (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/16/2017 12:27:00 AM)


    Until they shot the bound! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

    Lantz Pierre Lantz Pierre (5/16/2017 4:06:00 AM)

    Why do your comments so frequently exhibit such a rude indifference to the content of the poem and depth of feeling that the words convey? Do you even read the poems, or just pick out the first word or phrase that meets your eye? Seriously, I find your random interjections to be a rude assault on the art of poetry as a whole and to the efforts of individuals in particular.

  • (5/15/2014 10:59:00 AM)


    Such an amazingly powerful write! So much vivid imagery. (Report) Reply

  • (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

  • (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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Read poems about / on: together, time, life, birth, car, change



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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