Sharon Olds
The End by Sharon Olds

The End 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 ...

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The Victims by Sharon Olds

The Victims by Sharon Olds

When Mother divorced you, we were glad. She took it and took it in silence, all those years and then kicked you out, suddenly, and her kids loved it. Then you were fired, and ...

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The Unborn by Sharon Olds

The Unborn by Sharon Olds

Sometimes I can almost see, around our heads, Like gnats around a streetlight in summer, The children we could have, The glimmer of them. Sometimes I feel them waiting, ...

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The Clasp by Sharon Olds

The Clasp by Sharon Olds

She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,we had been in the apartment two weeks straight,I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on hisface, again, and when ...

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1954 by Sharon Olds

1954 by Sharon Olds

Then dirt scared me, because of the dirthe had put on her face. And her training brascared me—the newspapers, morning and evening,kept saying it, training bra,as if the cups of it ...

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Still Life In Landscape by Sharon Olds

Still Life In Landscape by Sharon Olds

It was night, it had rained, there were pieces of cars andhalf-cars strewn, it was still, and bright,a woman was lying on the highway, on her back,with her head curled back and ...

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The Daughter Goes To Camp by Sharon Olds

The Daughter Goes To Camp by Sharon Olds

In the taxi alone, home from the airport,I could not believe you were gone. My palm keptcreeping over the smooth plasticto find your strong meaty little hand andsqueeze it, find ...

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The Ferryer by Sharon Olds

The Ferryer by Sharon Olds

Three years after my father's death he goes back to work. Unemployed for twenty-five years, he's very glad to be taken on again, shows up on time, tireless worker. He sits in the ...

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The Pact by Sharon Olds

The Pact by Sharon Olds

We played dolls in that house where Father staggered with theThanksgiving knife, where Mother wept at noon into her one ounce ofcottage cheese, praying for the strength not tokill ...

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One Year by Sharon Olds

One Year by Sharon Olds

When I got to his marker, I sat on it,like sitting on the edge of someone's bed and I rubbed the smooth, speckled granite.I took some tears from my jaw and neckand started to wash ...

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Take The I Out by Sharon Olds

Take The I Out by Sharon Olds

But I love the I, steel I-beamthat my father sold. They poured the pig ironinto the mold, and it fed out slowly,a bending jelly in the bath, and it hardened,Bessemer, blister, ...

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Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942 by Sharon Olds

Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942 by Sharon Olds

Everything has been taken that anyonethought worth taking. The stairs are tilted,scattered with sycamore leaves curledlike ammonites in inland rock.Wood shows through the paint on ...

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The Space Heater by Sharon Olds

The Space Heater by Sharon Olds

On the then-below-zero day, it was on,near the patients' chair, the old heaterkept by the analyst's couch, at the end,like the infant's headstone that was added near the footof my ...

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I Go Back To May 1937 by Sharon Olds

I Go Back To May 1937 by Sharon Olds

I see them standing at the formal gates of their colleges,I see my father strolling outunder the ochre sandstone arch, the red tiles glinting like bentplates of blood behind his ...

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May 1968 by Sharon Olds

May 1968 by Sharon Olds

When the Dean said we could not cross campusuntil the students gave up the buildings,we lay down, in the street,we said the cops will enter this gateover us. Lying back on the ...

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The Sash by Sharon Olds

The Sash by Sharon Olds

The first ones were attached to my dressat the waist, one on either side,right at the point where hands could clasp you andpick you up, as if you were a hotsqueeze bottle of tree ...

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The Borders by Sharon Olds

The Borders by Sharon Olds

To say that she came into me,from another world, is not true.Nothing comes into the universeand nothing leaves it.My mother—I mean my daughter did notenter me. She began to ...

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True Love by Sharon Olds

True Love by Sharon Olds

In the middle of the night, when we get up after making love, we look at each other in complete friendship, we know so fully what the other has been doing. Bound to each ...

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A Week Later by Sharon Olds

A Week Later by Sharon Olds

A week later, I said to a friend: I don'tthink I could ever write about it.Maybe in a year I could write something.There is something in me maybe somedayto be written; now it is ...

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Voices by Sharon Olds

Voices by Sharon Olds

(for Lucille)Our voices race to the towers, and up beyondthe atmosphere, to the satellite,slowly turning, then back downto another tower, and cell. Quincy, Toi, Honoree, Sarah, ...

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Primitive by Sharon Olds

Primitive by Sharon Olds

I have heard about the civilized, the marriages run on talk, elegant and honest, rational. But you and I are savages. You come in with a bag, hold it out to me in silence. I know ...

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Topography by Sharon Olds

Topography by Sharon Olds

After we flew across the country wegot in bed, laid our bodiesdelicately together, like maps laidface to face, East to West, mySan Francisco against your New York, yourFire Island ...

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I Could Not Tell by Sharon Olds

I Could Not Tell by Sharon Olds

I could not tell I had jumped off that bus,that bus in motion, with my child in my arms,because I did not know it. I believed my own story: I had fallen, or the bus had started ...

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The Mortal One by Sharon Olds

The Mortal One by Sharon Olds

Three months after he lies dead, thatlong yellow narrow body,not like Christ but like one of his saints,the naked ones in the paintings whose bodies aredone in gilt, all knees and ...

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Crab by Sharon Olds

Crab by Sharon Olds

When I eat crab, slide the rosyrubbery claw across my tongueI think of my mother. She'd drive downto the edge of the Bay, tiny woman in ahuge car, she'd ask the crab-man tocrack ...

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The Month of June: 13 1/2 by Sharon Olds

The Month of June: 13 1/2 by Sharon Olds

As our daughter approaches graduation and puberty at the same time, at her own, calm, deliberate, serious rate, she begins to kick up her heels, jazz out her hands, thrust out ...

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The Wedding Vow by Sharon Olds

The Wedding Vow by Sharon Olds

I did not stand at the altar, I stoodat the foot of the chancel steps, with my beloved,and the minister stood on the top stepholding the open Bible. The churchwas wood, painted ...

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Unspeakable by Sharon Olds

Unspeakable by Sharon Olds

Now I come to look at lovein a new way, now that I know I'm notstanding in its light. I want to ask myalmost-no-longer husband what it's like to notlove, but he does not want to ...

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The Flurry by Sharon Olds

The Flurry by Sharon Olds

When we talk about when to tell the kids,we are so together, so concentrated.I mutter, 'I feel like a killer.' 'I'mthe killer'—taking my wrist-he says,holding it. He is sitting on ...

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Sex Without Love by Sharon Olds

Sex Without Love by Sharon Olds

How do they do it, the ones who make lovewithout love? Beautiful as dancers,gliding over each other like ice-skatersover the ice, fingers hookedinside each other's bodies, ...

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Toth Farry by Sharon Olds

Toth Farry by Sharon Olds

In the back of the charm-box, in a sack, the baby canines and incisors are mostly chaff, by now, split kernels and acicular down, no whole utensils left: half an adz; half ...

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Her First Week by Sharon Olds

Her First Week by Sharon Olds

She was so small I would scan the crib a half-second to find her, face-down in a corner, limp as something gently flung down, or fallen from some sky an inch above the mattress. I ...

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The Knowing by Sharon Olds

The Knowing by Sharon Olds

Afterwards, when we have slept, paradise- comaed and woken, we lie a long time looking at each other. I do not know what he sees, but I see eyes of surpassing ...

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My Son The Man by Sharon Olds

My Son The Man by Sharon Olds

Suddenly his shoulders get a lot wider,the way Houdini would expand his bodywhile people were putting him in chains. It seemsno time since I would help him to put on his ...

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The Death of Marilyn Monroe by Sharon Olds

The Death of Marilyn Monroe by Sharon Olds

The ambulance men touched her coldbody, lifted it, heavy as iron,onto the stretcher, tried to close themouth, closed the eyes, tied thearms to the sides, moved a caughtstrand of ...

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