The Victims

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 we
grinned inside, the way people grinned when
Nixon's helicopter lifted off the South
Lawn for the last time. We were tickled
to think of your office taken away,
your secretaries taken away,
your lunches with three double bourbons,
your pencils, your reams of paper. Would they take your
suits back, too, those dark
carcasses hung in your closet, and the black
noses of your shoes with their large pores?
She had taught us to take it, to hate you and take it
until we pricked with her for your
annihilation, Father. Now I
pass the bums in doorways, the white
slugs of their bodies gleaming through slits in their
suits of compressed silt, the stained
flippers of their hands, the underwater
fire of their eyes, ships gone down with the
lanterns lit, and I wonder who took it and
took it from them in silence until they had
given it all away and had nothing
left but this.

by Sharon Olds

Other poems of OLDS (34)

Comments (15)

These words reminded me of my parents separating. We were free from violence and no longer needed to fear.
Being abused! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us.
Abuses in any form whether domestic, in workplace or anywhere else create a deep impact in an individual, a wound that might be treated in due time or will remain and shape the person's character. A meaningful poem on a sensitive issue. Beautifully crafted and well executed write. Vividly portrayed.10
A heart touching poem on how one suffers when being abused. Thanks for sharing. Deserved to be chosen as the poem of the day.
This sad poem on abuse by men has some fantastic images in it. 'Nixon's helicopter lifted off the South Lawn' and 'Those dark carcasses hung in your closet'
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