24 February 2009

Sharon Olds

[from Sharon Olds's One Secret Thing, Borzoi, 2008]

Fly on the Wall in the Puritan Home

And then I become a fly on the wall
of that room, where the corporal punishment
was done. The humans who are in it mean little
to me -- not the offspring, nor the offsprung --
I turn my back and with maxillae and palps
clean my arms: in each of the hundred
eyes of both my compound eyes,
one wallpaper rose. And if I turn back,
and the two-legged insect is over the lap
of the punishing one, the Venus trap,
I watch, and thrust my narrow hairy
rear into a flower at the rhythm the big one is
onward-Christian-soldiering and
marching-off-to-warring -- as she's smoting,
I'm laying my eggs in the manure of a rose,
pumping to the beat. And my looking is a looking
primed, it is a looking to the power of itself,
and I see a sea folding inward,
200 little seas folding on themselves --
a mess of gene pool crushing down onto
its own shore. Then I turn back
to washing my hands of the chaff that flees off the
threshed onto the threshing floor.
Ho hum, I say, I'm just a flay --
fly light, fly bright, pieces of a species dashed
off onto a wall, chaff of wonder,
chaff of night.

One Secret Thing

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