Galway Aria

Sharon Olds

Fall 2018

At the end of the day, at the end of the evening,
in full night, I finally turn out
the light and go to one of your dormer
windows—the eaves pulled down, over
my shoulders, as if I am out over
the hollyhocks and the barrel of nasturtiums, the
flowers with their divinity in their
throats to be sucked out, the deep
panes set into the roof, the house set
halfway up the hill on top of the
mountain over the valley. We are most of the
way up to the zenith, the clouds
stretching out, level with us,
rumpled, bunched, ruched, as if we are
upside down, as if the sky
is the element we are floating on, like
liquid, as if we’re at the bottom of the earth,
resting on the ocean of the air and its wrack of
glisteny seaweed and kelp. The summer
screen mesh
makes the sexagonal
hivation of the atmosphere visible,
the honeycombage of the lower heavens,
the trees are black, the grass is grey, like a
painting of an alpen mountainside
in moonlight. By day in the house now, laughter,
and the dogs’ laughs and harks; by night,
the skies flow
over the slopes,
fireflies flash with frugal economy
here and there on the ground—and tiny
silver pieces of the storm are caught in the
woven metal which billows like tethered
cloth. Hello, dear Galway. Off and
on, all day, dark purple
and deluge, so I’ve not yet waded up the last
slant of the Northeast Kingdom—before it
falls off into the Van Allen and Orion
belts—to stand, my bones assembled
roughly upright in their constellation
above yours
now edged a little
here and there—inched—by the creatures
with whom you share the dirt and share
your tissue, drifting through their noisome jaws
in lacy jags. I am honored to be here,
almost at home in your blood’s and heart’s
tribe, though having little right,
neither daughter nor lover, and yet sub
being of the same sub
species, the eaters of our words, and of
each others’, and singers of them, we cannot
keep a line
down for long, but must
throw it up, out of us,
for song, and in the middle of the night, as I
sleep with my mouth open, your music
leaks out onto the pillowcase,
seeping sweets like a hive, O you great
bee on the mountain, I sing you and I celebrate you.

Sharon Olds has published thirteen volumes of poetry, which have won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, among other honors. She teaches at NYU.

Read More

Web Design and Development by Riverworks Marketing