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The Sash

Written by: Sharon Olds | Biography
 | Quotes (4) |
 The first ones were attached to my dress
at the waist, one on either side,
right at the point where hands could clasp you and
pick you up, as if you were a hot
squeeze bottle of tree syrup, and the
sashes that emerged like axil buds from the
angles of the waist were used to play horses, that
racing across the cement while someone
held your reins and you could feel your flesh
itself in your body wildly streaming.
You would come home, a torn-off sash dangling from either hand, a snake-charmer— each time, she sewed them back on with thicker thread, until the seams of sash and dress bulged like little knots of gristle at your waist as you walked, you could feel them like thumbs pressing into your body.
The next sash was the one Thee, Hannah! borrowed from her be-ribboned friend and hid in a drawer and got salve on it, salve on a sash, like bacon grease on a snake, God's lard on the ribbon a Quaker girl should not want, Satan's jism on silk delicate as the skin of a young girl's genital.
When Hannah gave up satin her father told her she was beautiful just as God made her.
But all sashes lead to the sash, very sash of very sash, begotten, not made, that my aunt sent from Switzerland— cobalt ripple of Swiss cotton with clean boys and girls dancing on it.
I don't know why my mother chose it to tie me to the chair with, her eye just fell on it, but the whole day I felt those blue children dance around my wrists.
Later someone told me they had found out the universe is a kind of strip that twists around and joins itself, and I believe it, sometimes I can feel it, the way we are pouring slowly toward a curve and around it through something dark and soft, and we are bound to each other.



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