One Year

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 neck
and started to wash a corner of his stone.
Then a black and amber ant
ran out onto the granite, and off it,
and another ant hauled a dead
ant onto the stone, leaving it, and not coming back.
Ants ran down into the grooves of his name
and dates, down into the oval track of the
first name's O, middle name's O,
the short O of his last name,
and down into the hyphen between
his birth and death--little trough of his life.
Soft bugs appeared on my shoes,
like grains of pollen, I let them move on me,
I rinsed a dark fleck of mica,
and down inside the engraved letters
the first dots of lichen were appearing
like stars in early evening.
I saw the speedwell on the ground with its horns,
the coiled ferns, copper-beech blossoms, each
petal like that disc of matter which
swayed, on the last day, on his tongue.
Tamarack, Western hemlock,
manzanita, water birch
with its scored bark,
I put my arms around a trunk and squeezed it,
then I lay down on my father's grave.
The sun shone down on me, the powerful
ants walked on me. When I woke,
my cheek was crumbly, yellowish
with a mustard plaster of earth. Only
at the last minute did I think of his body
actually under me, the can of
bone, ash, soft as a goosedown
pillow that bursts in bed with the lovers.
When I kissed his stone it was not enough,
when I licked it my tongue went dry a moment, I
ate his dust, I tasted my dirt host.
Anonymous submission.

by Sharon Olds

Other poems of OLDS (34)

Comments (10)

Tears from my jaw and neck! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
As usual Old's get to the nub and tells the reader in stark lines her grief. The overwhelming sense of loss and sadness great write as always loved this.
This is a beautiful poem nicely executed. Thanks and congratulations for being selected this poem as the poem of the day.
I Love G-D (Part 2) - Poem by Jeff Fleischer I love G-d with all my heart and all my soul. He fills me with His spirit. He talks to me in the shadows of the night And whenever I beseech Him. If you desire His love, Walk in His ways. The guardian of the universe Requires no rest. The protector of all. Dependent upon none.
Excellent work, Sharon.
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