First Thanksgiving

By Sharon Olds b. 1942 Sharon Olds
When she comes back, from college, I will see
the skin of her upper arms, cool,
matte, glossy. She will hug me, my old
soupy chest against her breasts,
I will smell her hair! She will sleep in this apartment,
her sleep like an untamed, good object,
like a soul in a body. She came into my life the
second great arrival, after him, fresh
from the other world—which lay, from within him,
within me. Those nights, I fed her to sleep,
week after week, the moon rising,
and setting, and waxing—whirling, over the months,
in a slow blur, around our planet.
Now she doesn’t need love like that, she has
had it. She will walk in glowing, we will talk,
and then, when she’s fast asleep, I’ll exult
to have her in that room again,
behind that door! As a child, I caught
bees, by the wings, and held them, some seconds,
looked into their wild faces,
listened to them sing, then tossed them back
into the air—I remember the moment the
arc of my toss swerved, and they entered
the corrected curve of their departure.

Sharon Olds, “First Thanksgiving” from Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002. Copyright © 2004 by Sharon Olds. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

Source: Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002 (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Sharon Olds b. 1942

Subjects Living, Coming of Age, Parenthood, Midlife, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, The Body

 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 . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Coming of Age, Parenthood, Midlife, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Nature, The Body

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.