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The Victims
(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

The Victims

Poem 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 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.

User Rating: 3,5 / 5 ( 55 votes ) 23

Other poems of OLDS (34)

Comments (23)

Man can’t exist without woman.
The complexities of modern age life like children celebrating divorce of parents beautifully presented. A well deserved modern poem of the day.
A sad great poem about the disentigration of a family, Sharon Olds is one of the great Poetess of our dark times, thanks for the rereadings
Strength you must have to have guided you through this journey. Peoples lives are affected deeply from this crime. I wrote " The Victim" several years ago. about someone fighting this in court. People seem to turn a blind eye. May there be sunshine in your everyday.
A powerful piece about abuse and the aftermath. Depicted by a deft hand! Congratulations! You have captivated attention of the readers on a grim and sensitive topic!
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