My Son the Man

By Sharon Olds b. 1942 Sharon Olds
Suddenly his shoulders get a lot wider,
the way Houdini would expand his body
while people were putting him in chains. It seems
no time since I would help him to put on his sleeper,
guide his calves into the gold interior,
zip him up and toss him up and
catch his weight. I cannot imagine him
no longer a child, and I know I must get ready,
get over my fear of men now my son
is going to be one. This was not
what I had in mind when he pressed up through me like a
sealed trunk through the ice of the Hudson,
snapped the padlock, unsnaked the chains,
and appeared in my arms. Now he looks at me
the way Houdini studied a box
to learn the way out, then smiled and let himself be manacled.

"My Son the Man" from The Wellspring by Sharon Olds. Copyright © 1996 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

Source: The Wellspring (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996)

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Poet Sharon Olds b. 1942

Subjects Living, Parenthood

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse

 Sharon  Olds

Biography

Sharon Olds is one of contemporary poetry’s leading voices. Winner of several prestigious awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, Olds is known for writing intensely personal, emotionally scathing poetry which graphically depicts family life as well as global political events. “Sharon Olds is enormously self-aware,” wrote David Leavitt in the Voice Literary Supplement. “Her poetry is . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Parenthood

Poetic Terms Imagery, Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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