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The Meal
By Sharon Olds


Mama, I never stop seeing you there
at the breakfast table when I'd come home from school --
sitting with your excellent skeletal posture
facing that plate with the one scoop of cottage cheese on it,
forcing yourself to eat, though you did not want to live,
feeding yourself, small spoonful by
small spoonful, so you would not die and
leave us without a mother. You'd sit
in front of that mound rounded as a breast and
giving off a cold moony light,
light of the life you did not want, you would
hold yourself there and stare down at it,
an orphan forty years old staring at the breast,
a freshly divorced woman down to 82 pounds
staring at the cock runny with milk gone sour,
a daughter who had always said
the best thing her mother ever did for her
was to die. I came home every day to
find you there, dry-eyed, unbent, that
hot control in the breakfast nook, your
delicate savage bones over the cheese
curdled like the breast of the mother twenty years in the
porous earth,
                and yet what I remember is your
spoon moving like the cock moving in the
body of the girl waking to the power of her pleasure,
your spoon rising in courage, bite after bite, you
tilted rigid over that plate until you
polished it for my life.

--------

Another rushed entry because my son has a doctor's appointment this morning. I still haven't read anything anywhere in more than two weeks. The Yu-Gi-Oh movie was more entertaining than I expected, even though I had to keep asking my son stupid questions like "Is Pegasus immortal...well, then, how did he invent the game?" and "Is Kaiba's younger sibling a boy or a girl?" But now I have been informed that I must take my children to Burger King for lunch so they can get the tie-in toys! Woe!

This afternoon my in-laws are coming to return the gerbils and have dinner, tomorrow both kids have school orientations (of course, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon), Friday has been reserved for tracking down the school supplies we haven't managed to get yet -- teach us to go out of town for most of August. Am hoping to get to Baltimore for the Constellation anniversary this weekend but we'll see how much insanity is left!


Gull and Bunker Hill Bridge, taken from the deck of the USS Constitution.


Chipmunk along the road from Concord to Lexington, the path of the British retreat to Boston.


Frog in a fountain in the gardens of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site.


Spider in a barn, Plimoth Plantation.


Squirrel on a tree Boston Common in front of a reproduction of the Shaw Memorial (there's another at the Saint-Gaudens site and yet another at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC).


Turtles and tree reflections in the West Hartford Reservoir.


Dragonfly at the pond behind the middle school in Bristol, Connecticut.

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