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The Borders

 To say that she came into me,
from another world, is not true.
Nothing comes into the universe and nothing leaves it.
My mother—I mean my daughter did not enter me.
She began to exist inside me—she appeared within me.
And my mother did not enter me.
When she lay down, to pray, on me, she was always ferociously courteous, fastidious with Puritan fastidiousness, but the barrier of my skin failed, the barrier of my body fell, the barrier of my spirit.
She aroused and magnetized my skin, I wanted ardently to please her, I would say to her what she wanted to hear, as if I were hers.
I served her willingly, and then became very much like her, fiercely out for myself.
When my daughter was in me, I felt I had a soul in me.
But it was born with her.
But when she cried, one night, such pure crying, I said I will take care of you, I will put you first.
I will not ever have a daughter the way she had me, I will not ever swim in you the way my mother swam in me and I felt myself swum in.
I will never know anyone again the way I knew my mother, the gates of the human fallen.

by Sharon Olds
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