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Stags Leap

Sharon Olds
Cape Poetry



Though I never saw you, only your clouds,

I was afraid of you, of how you differed
from what we had wanted you to be. And it's as if
you waited, then, where such waiting is done,
for when I would look beside me — and here
you are, in the world of forms, where my wifehood
is now, and every action with him,
as if a thousand years from now
you and I are in some antechamber
where the difference between us is of little matter,
you with perhaps not much of a head yet,
dear garden one, you among the shovels
and spades and wafts of beekeeper's shroud
and sky-blue kidskin gloves.
That he left me is not much, compared
to your leaving the earth — your shifting places
on it, and shifting shapes - you threw off your
working clothes of arms and legs,
and moved house, from uterus
to toilet bowl and jointed stem
and sewer out to float the rivers and
bays in painless pieces. And yet
the idea of you has come back to where
I could see you today as a small, impromptu
god of the partial. When I leave for good,
would you hold me in your blue mitt
for the departure hence. I never thought
to see you again, I never thought to seek you.