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The Daughter Goes To Camp

 In the taxi alone, home from the airport,
I could not believe you were gone.
My palm kept creeping over the smooth plastic to find your strong meaty little hand and squeeze it, find your narrow thigh in the noble ribbing of the corduroy, straight and regular as anything in nature, to find the slack cool cheek of a child in the heat of a summer morning— nothing, nothing, waves of bawling hitting me in hot flashes like some change of life, some boiling wave rising in me toward your body, toward where it should have been on the seat, your brow curved like a cereal bowl, your eyes dark with massed crystals like the magnified scales of a butterfly's wing, the delicate feelers of your limp hair, floods of blood rising in my face as I tried to reassemble the hot gritty molecules in the car, to make you appear like a holograph on the back seat, pull you out of nothing as I once did—but you were really gone, the cab glossy as a slit caul out of which you had slipped, the air glittering electric with escape as it does in the room at a birth.

by Sharon Olds
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