(for Lucille)
Our voices race to the towers, and up beyond
the atmosphere, to the satellite,
slowly turning, then back down
to another tower, and cell. Quincy,
Toi, Honoree, Sarah, Dorianne,
Galway. When Athena Elizalex calls,
I tell her I'm missing Lucille's dresses,
and her shoes, and Elizabeth says "And she would say,
"Damn! I do look good!'"  After we
hang up, her phone calls me again
from inside her jacket, in the grocery store
with her elder son, eleven, I cannot                        
hear the words, just part of the matter
of the dialogue, it's about sugar, I am
in her pocket like a spirit. Then I dream it —
looking at an illuminated city
from a hill, at night, and suddenly
the lights go out — like all the stars
gone out.  "Well, if there is great sex
in heaven," we used to say, "or even just
sex, or one kiss, what's wrong
with that?!"  Then I'm dreaming a map of the globe, with
bright pinpoints all over it —
in the States, the Caribbean, Latin America,
in Europe, and in Africa —
everywhere a poem of hers is being
read.  Small comfort.  Not small
to the girl who curled against the wall around the core
of her soul, keeping it alive, with long
labor, then unfolded into the hard truths, the
lucid beauty, of her song.            
                                                       15 Feb '10
 
Copyright © 2010 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of the author. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Blowjob (Vulgar Slang) by Sharon Olds
Mairsy and Dosey by Sharon Olds
Suddenly by Sharon Olds
And suddenly, it's today, it's this morning
Take the I Out by Sharon Olds
But I love the I, steel I-beam
The Ferryer by Sharon Olds
Three years after my father's death


Further Reading

Poems about Voice
Coming and Going
by Tony Hoagland
Hearing your words and not a word among them (Sonnet XXXVI)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
If My Voice Is Not Reaching You
by Afzal Ahmed Syed
If the ocean had a mouth
by Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Lift Every Voice and Sing
by James Weldon Johnson
Meeting at Night
by Robert Browning
Mrs. Cavendish and the Dancer
by Stephen Dunn
On Silence
by R. Zamora Linmark
Prayer from a Mouse
by Sarah Messer
Silences
by John Montague
Speedway
by Cedar Sigo
The Keeper's Voice
by Mike Carson
The Little Mute Boy
by Federico García Lorca
The Man Whose Voice Has Been Taken From His Throat
by Naomi Shihab Nye
The Voice
by Thomas Hardy
Time
by Chris Martin
Why is Quiet "Kept"?
by Paul Hoover
Related Authors
Lucille Clifton