A Week Later
By Sharon Olds
A week later, I said to a friend: I don't
think I could ever write about it.
Maybe in a year I could write something.
There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school. And in my dream
someone was playing jacks, and in the air there was a
huge, thrown, tilted jack
on fire. And when I woke up, I found myself
counting the days since I had last seen
my husband--only two years, and some weeks,
and hours. We had signed the papers and come down to the
ground floor of the Chrysler Building,
the intact beauty of its lobby around us
like a king's tomb, on the ceiling the little
painted plane, in the mural, flying. And it
entered my strictured heart, this morning,
slightly, shyly as if warily,
untamed, a greater sense of the sweetness
and plenty of his ongoing life,
unknown to me, unseen by me,
unheard, untouched--but known, seen,
heard, touched. And it came to me,
for moments at a time, moment after moment,
to be glad for him that he is with the one
he feels was meant for him. And I thought of my
mother, minutes from her death, eighty-five
years from her birth, the almost warbler
bones of her shoulder under my hand, the
eggshell skull, as she lay in some peace
in the clean sheets, and I could tell her the best
of my poor, partial love, I could sing her
out with it, I saw the luck
and luxury of that hour.
I should probably save this poem till September 11th next year but it breaks me too hard right now. Which happens every time I read it, really, so I don't know why I can't resist it tonight; the way the narrator calls her ex-husband "my husband" as she saw him on the day they signed their divorce papers, the plane as a tilted jack, the surviving building like a tomb to her, and her mother...maybe because someone close to me is dying of Alzheimer's, more quickly than anyone expected but at the same time not quickly enough to stop the horrors of the decline. It just hits that way.
Pretty quiet Monday, which was pretty nice; other than doing some writing, I mostly spent it doing laundry, hanging out with my kids and watching last season's Heroes with perkypaduan, who came over and brought me goodies from Baltimore Comic-Con and ate California Tortilla with me and the cats, who insisted on sharing the couch though we denied them the hot sauce. My major triumph was discovering, in the course of attempting to clean up the basement, where I had put my copy of the Gustave Dore-illustrated Rime of the Ancient Mariner away on the wrong shelf. I've been looking for it for months.
Wow, the news footage from California is terrifying. Hope everyone in that area is all right -- my L.A. area geography is terrible but I know people in Malibu and San Diego and, I think, points in between. My parents are visiting my uncle in Santa Clarita right now and are supposed to drive to San Diego in two days for a law conference, but I have no idea what is going to happen with that.
A calf at Brookfield Pumpkins...
Alpacas at Chestnut Hill Farm...
Koi in the pond at Lilypons Water Gardens...
A dog at Kiparoo Farm Studio...
Piggies at Brookfield...
...and sheep at Stunkel's.
My cable was out for awhile in the afternoon, but it came back on for Heroes and Journeyman. Watching last season made me miss the character dynamics and to some extent the vibe from last spring, though I'm liking Monica a lot -- in general I like the way race both is and is not an issue with Micah's extended family, that it's not being used to define them but at the same time there's no pretense that racial issues don't signify. It's the thing that makes the Hiro-builds-up-Westerner-as-Japanese-her
And back to Monica: much as I like her, I find her power totally preposterous at times, even more than Nathan flying. I buy that she can learn things instantly that require only mind power or manual dexterity, like carving vegetables or playing the piano, but with things like jump rope and karate that require specific physical skills and muscle development, it throws me out of the storyline because it seems silly. And I really don't need the Veronica Mars "Daddy" vibe (though Lieutenant Reed talking to Veronica Mars made me giggle). Bring back Niki as a self-reliant and empowered woman, and let Nana do something her grandchildren can't, because otherwise the lack of mothers and powerful women on this show will really start to infuriate me.
I had lots of distractions during Journeyman and every one of them made me lose the thread of the story, so I probably should not evaluate this episode, but I should add in fairness that if this had been Pushing Daisies I would have been ignoring the distractions or ordering them to be quiet.