Where Is My Lady?

Sharon Olds

Fall 2018

I don’t know where the moon is,
four in the morning. Orion is out,
faint. For how many years was he my bright
imaginary husband—much colder and more
distant than the imaginary husband
I was married to. And in the years by myself,
inside this house in sight of no other
houses, in the dark, hours before dawn,
I would look up, and out, from behind
a window, at the black tray
fierce with gems, and I’d feel I had to go
out and stand under it, though afraid
there might be a human male on the loose
in the woods around me. Now I think
maybe the heavens’ intense glitter
was like my mother’s eyes when she was so much
taller than I, and she labored to put me
out in the wind, unprotected,
as she had been. Well, I attend
the moon—and not as a monster, I await it
almost as an equal, a companion in space, once
part of the earth until knocked away.
This very early morning, I do not
feel I do not deserve to live,
nor need I scare myself by going
out where our unnatural species
roams. But where is my lady?

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.

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