The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Thursday and Flag Ponds Park

Faust 1972
By Sharon Olds

This time, Faust was a nursing mother –
on one arm, a nine-month-old,
by one hand, a four-year-old, and in the
backpack a Ph.D., now un-take-
backable. She was walking down the steps,
on which, four years before, in the Strike,
the English Department Administrator
had stood with the bandage around her head,
bloody where the night-stick had hit her when they tried to fight
past her to her students. Nursing Faust
descended, now, beside the Alma
Mater, who was no longer wearing her
Shirley Hess lookalike
red-blotched headdress. And no spirit
came up to the milk-fat graduate
to tempt her — she just spoke, herself,
to the one she felt within her, the one
she thought of as Satan. Give me my own
poems, she said, and I'll give you back
all I have learned (forgetting she had learned
almost nothing), and the poems don't have to be
good — just my own, the work of an ordinary
woman. Then they went to Tom's, for pancakes –
the worn, vinyl booster seat
and the high-chair — and it was either Mary,
or Betty, who took care of them,
one on her feet all day, weighing maybe
300, one maybe 80 years old,
which was just the way things were, nothing
Faust would try to do anything about.
Pancakes for three, and bacon, and an extra
plate for the ego's voice, in my day called Satan.


I am sure something happened on Wednesday but all I can remember is doing chores and enjoying the weather. I avoided the news because it was all environmental disasters, election nightmares, secret service farces, and ebola; I tried to stick to Stephenie Meyer supporting women in film and Hugh Jackman grabbing his balls for testicular cancer, though then I couldn't avoid celebrity weddings and babies. I may have had a glass of wine with dinner but that was because I needed the bottle empty for a craft project.

TV this evening included David Tennant narrating Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, which was unexpectedly stressful because baby penguins under threat; Legends, which has an awesome cast (I knew I'd love Sean Bean but am really enjoying Ali Larter and the rest), though also stressful; and Nashville, which had one gorgeous song by Scarlett and Gunnar and lots of soapiness that is filling the void the Dallas hiatus has left in my life. The Chesapeake beach at Flag Ponds on the last day of summer:


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