Binding ourselves to the world

Little Things
Sharon Olds

After she's gone to camp, in the early
evening I clear Liddy's breakfast dishes
from the rosewood table, and find a small
crystallized pool of maple syrup, the
grains standing there, round, in the night, I
rub it with my fingertip
as if I could read it, this raised dot of
amber sugar, and this time
when I think of my father, I wonder why
I think of my father, of the beautiful blood-red
glass in his hand, or his black hair gleaming like a
broken-open coal. I think I learned to
love the little things about him
because of all the big things
I could not love, no one could, it would be wrong to.
So when I fix on this tiny image of resin
or sweep together with the heel of my hand a
pile of my son's sunburn peels like
insect wings, where I peeled his back the night before camp,
I am doing something I learned early to do, I am
paying attention to small beauties,
whatever I have -- as if it were our duty to
find things to love, to bind ourselves to this world.


My Mind Clicking and Clicking said...

Absolutely beautiful!
I was caught up in the words and the images they wove in my mind, immediately 'seeing' the blood-red glass in her father's hand and the peelings which remind her of butterfly wings....stunning and so very moving..summer ending and autumn approaches.

Shelley Noble said...

excellent poem.