This poem is at the front of Sharon Olds’ One Secret Thing, outside the other five sections – War, The Cannery, Umbilicus, Cassiopeia and One Secret Thing.
I previously shared (or at least linked to) Olds’ The Language of the Brag – a birth poem. This is not a birth poem.
Most of us are never conceived.
Many of us are never born –
we live in a private ocean for hours,
weeks, with our extra or missing limbs,
or holding our poor second head,
growing from our chest, in our arms. And many of us,
see-fruit on its stem, dreaming kelp
and whelk, are culled in our early months.
And some who are born live only for minutes,
others for two, or for three, summers,
or four, and when they go, everything
goes – the earth, the firmament –
and love stays, where nothing is, and seeks.