I know nothing of motherhood—or fatherhood, for that matter—but I've been seventeen before. This poem acts, for me, as a window for a specific kind of transition. Through it, I can see, perhaps, how my own mother felt as June 2005 approached, but I can also see the faint reflection of how I've felt about important people in my life leaving, moving on. On a more distinctively poetic note, the structure Olds uses, however subtle, is striking—the enjambment of the phrase I could not imagine/my life with her between lines 20 and 21; the imagery of wild animal mothers feeding children who depart immediately; and, finally, the visceral picture of the love she feels for her own daughter, alive in her heart changing chambers, like something poured/from hand to hand, to be weighed and reweighed. Love moving in cycles like blood, connective tissue.
5 months ago