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The Arrivals

Written by: Sharon Olds | Biography
 | Quotes (4) |
 I pull the bed slowly open, I
open the lips of the bed, get
the stack of fresh underpants
out of the suitcase—peach, white,
cherry, quince, pussy willow, I
choose a color and put them on,
I travel with the stack for the stack's caress,
dry and soft.
I enter the soft birth-lips of the bed, take off my glasses, and the cabbage-roses on the curtain blur to Keats's peonies, the ochre willow holds a cloud the way a skeleton holds flesh and it passes, does not hold it.
The bed fits me like a walnut shell its meat, my hands touch the upper corners, the lower, my feet.
It is so silent I hear the choirs of wild silence, the maenads of the atoms.
Is this what it feels like to have a mother? The sheets are heavy cream, whipped.
Ah, here is my mother, or rather here she is not, so this is paradise.
But surely that was paradise, when her Jell-O nipple was the size of my own fist, in front of my face—out of its humped runkles those several springs of milk, so fierce almost fearsome.
What did I think in that brain gridded for thought, its cups loaded with languageless rennet? And at night, when they timed me, four hours of screaming, not a minute more, four, those quatrains of icy yell, then the cold tap water to get me over my shameless hunger, what was it like to be there when that hunger was driven into my structure at such heat it alloyed that iron? Where have I been while this person is leading my life with her patience, will and order? In the garden; on the bee and under the bee; in the crown gathering cumulus and flensing it from the boughs, weeping a rehearsal for the rotting and casting off of our flesh, the year we slowly throw it off like clothing by the bed covers of our lover, and dive under.



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