Eat Your Poetry

Poetry makes you lose weight! It helps keep your gums healthy and clean. Poetry even lowers blood pressure!Okay, that’s all a lie, but you should read it anyway.

Below is a poem about the underbelly of love and motherhood by Sharon Olds. Olds taught me that any subject is worth writing about; you must be brave though. She’s fond of words like pubic, penis, ovary, etc. She’s not afraid to describe the body and its workings. However, this poem is a little more subtle than some of her others.

“The Clasp”

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 his
face, again, and when I had her wrist
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple
of seconds, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing,
the expression, into her, of my anger,
“Never, never, again,” the righteous
chant accompanying the clasp. It happened very
fast — grab, crush, crush,
crush, release — and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me — yes, this was her mom,
her mom was doing this. Her dark,
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me. This was her mother, one of the
two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
was this.

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