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I Could Not Tell
(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

I Could Not Tell

Poem 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 up
when I had one foot in the air.

I would not remember the tightening of my jaw,
the irk that I’d missed my stop, the step out
into the air, the clear child
gazing about her in the air as I plunged
to one knee on the street, scraped it, twisted it,
the bus skidding to a stop, the driver
jumping out, my daughter laughing
Do it again.

I have never done it
again, I have been very careful.
I have kept an eye on that nice young mother
who lightly leapt
off the moving vehicle
onto the stopped street, her life
in her hands, her life’s life in her hands.

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Other poems of OLDS (34)

Comments (3)

I have kept an eye on that nice young mother who lightly leapt off the moving vehicle onto the stopped street, her life in her hands, her life’s life in her hands. a very fine poem. tony
Nice poem. Glad she decided to give herself an her innocent one a second chance at living.
Great poem again. Take a look at my poem called, Family of lies. I think you'll like this one.


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