Shards of Love

Sharon Olds, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, takes us through the windows of her broken marriage.

by Meghan O'Rourke Published Summer 2013
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When my hand is groping on the toolroom shelf for ex-
marital liquor to drink by myself,
it bumps something it knows by one bump
and rustle, one chocolate bar with almonds, then the
muffled thunk of another — he would hide them,
then give me one when I was sad. When he left,
he did not think, as who would,
to go to the caches and empty them, to the
traps and spring them. I take the fascia
of bars to the compost, denude them of their peel,
and chuck them in with the rumps and grinds,
the grounds and eden rinds,
and I carry the bowl outside, to the heap,
and trowel a pit in some eggshell crunch where the
potato sends its crisp shoots
of rage up, I tuck the cocoa
shards in — vanillin to vanillin,
very nut to very nut,
and remember how he hated it
when I tried to get him to talk to me,
tried with a certain steadiness —
nagged him to reveal himself —
maybe these desserts were not only gifts,
but bribes or stops, to close my mouth
an hour on sweetness.

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