High School Senior
By Sharon Olds
For seventeen years, her breath in the house
at night, puff, puff, like summer
cumulus above her bed,
and her scalp smelling of apricots
--this being who had formed within me,
squatted like a bright tree-frog in the dark,
like an eohippus she had come out of history
slowly, through me, into the daylight,
I had the daily sight of her,
like food or air she was there, like a mother.
I say "college," but I feel as if I cannot tell
the difference between her leaving for college
and our parting forever--I try to see
this house without her, without her pure
depth of feeling, without her creek-brown
hair, her daedal hands with their tapered
fingers, her pupils dark as the mourning cloak's
wing, but I can't. Seventeen years
ago, in this room, she moved inside me,
I looked at the river, I could not imagine
my life with her. I gazed across the street,
and saw, in the icy winter sun,
a column of steam rush up away from the earth.
There are creatures whose children float away
at birth, and those who throat-feed their young
for weeks and never see them again. My daughter
is free and she is in me--no, my love
of her is in me, moving in my heart,
changing chambers, like something poured
from hand to hand, to be weighed and then reweighed.
Had my lovely Thai lunch with perkypaduan, discussed how right Sex and the City was about "He's not into you," plus Latin-derivative names for wizard sex toys that might helpfully appear in the Room of Requirement if a werewolf and an animagus stumbled in there. Why were we thinking about the latter, you might ask? I blame ashinae. I also blame her for the fact that I went here and here. I am so going to Hell, even more than usual. Had serious (I can't even write that word anymore) discussion with my parents about the last 30 pages of OOTP and had to keep myself from blurting out, "theirloveissocanon!"
Today: finally taking kids to Pirates of the Caribbean. And then maybe the pool, where they had swimming lessons yesterday. They start sports camp Monday; if only I didn't have to work!
The Ghost of Mount Rainier Behind the Stadiums, Seattle