Olds’ Odes

If you’ve never heard Sharon Olds read, this is a good example:

or this, a poem I woke up thinking about this morning:

patz24n-5-webThe Missing Boy

(for Etan Patz)

Every time we take the bus
my son sees the picture of the missing boy.
He looks at it like a mirror–the dark
blond hair, the pale skin,
the blue eyes, the electric-blue sneakers with
slashes of jagged gold. But of course that
kid is little, only six and a half,
an age when things can happen to you,
when you’re not really safe, and Gabriel is seven,
practically fully grown–why, he would
tower over that kid if they could
find him and bring him right here on this bus and
stand them together. He sways in the silence
wishing for that, the tape on the picture
gleaming over his head, beginning to
melt at the center and curl at the edges as it
ages. At night, when I put him to bed,
my son holds my hand tight
and says he’s sure that kid’s all right,
nothing to worry about, he just
hopes he’s getting the food he likes,
not just any old food, but the food
he likes the most, the food he is used to.

Sharon Olds


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