Sharon Olds



                              That Moment


It is almost too long ago to remember–
when I was a woman without children,
a person, really, like a figure standing in a field,
alone, dark against the pale crop.
The children were there, they were shadowy figures
outside the fence, indistinct as
distant blobs of faces at twilight.
I can't remember, anymore,
the moment I turned to take them, my heel
turning on the earth, grinding the heads of the
stalks of grain under my foot, my
body suddenly swinging around as the
flat figure on a weathervane will
swerve when the wind changes. I can't
remember the journey from the center of the field to the edge
or the cracking of the fence like the breaking down of the
borders of the world, or my stepping out of the
ploughed field altogether and
taking them in my arms as you'd take the
whites and yolks of eggs in your arms running
over you glutinous, streaked, slimy,
glazing you. I cannot remember that
instant when I gave my life to them
the way someone will suddenly give her life over to God
and I stood with them outside the universe
and then like a god I turned and brought them in.


Sharon Olds, The Gold Cell, Alfred A. Knopf, 1987.