After reading the poem, The Knowing, By Sharon Olds

A fresh tear makes its way across
my reddened cheek bone and lands
where my lips meet each other then
puddles until my tongue lifts to
meet its salty flavor.

It has been a while since I tasted my
own tears. Weeks actually.
But this one tastes familiar. The briny
texture of the taste of loss, and
those moments when suddenly I remember
what it felt like to be her.

“I am so lucky that I can know him.
This is the only way to know him.
I am the only one that knows him.”

And again, I remember I no longer know.

I consider those moments, the waking,
the lovemaking, the looks of total
recognition. I knew someone once.

And as I sit, in this large bed,
enveloped in new sheets, two warm
smelling dog-people beside me–
I fear the not knowing. The
stranger in myself. The silence
that has become such a dear friend.

Loving myself has proven so much
more difficult than I could have
forseen. Loving another is easier
and infinitely more rare than
even a poet of the most romantic
notions could have suspected.


The Knowing
-Sharon Olds

Afterwards, when we have slept,

paradise-comaed and woken,

we lie a long time

looking at each other.

I do not know what he sees, but I see

eyes of surpassing tenderness

and calm, a calm like the dignity

of matter. I love the open ocean

blue-grey-green of his iris, I love

the curve of it against the white,

that curve the sight of what has caused me

to come, when he’s quite still, deep

inside me. I have never seen a curve

like that, except the earth from outer

space. I don’t know where he got

his kindness without self-regard,

almost without self, and yet

he chose one woman, instead of the others.

By knowing him, I get to know

the purity of the animal

which mates for life. Sometimes he is slightly

smiling, but mostly he just gazes at me gazing,

his entire face lit. I love to see it change if I cry–there is no worry,

no pity, no graver radiance. If we

are on our backs, side by side,

with our faces turned fully to face each other,

I can hear a tear from my lower eye

hit the sheet, as if it is an early day on earth,

and then the upper eye’s tears braid and sluice down through the lower eyebrow

like the invention of farmimg, irrigation, a non-nomadic people.

I am so lucky that I can know him.

This is the only way to know him.

I am the only one who knows him.

When I wake again, he is still looking at me, as if he is eternal. For an hour

we wake and doze, and slowly I know

that though we are sated, though we are hardly touching, this is the coming the other

coming brought us to the edge of–we are entering, deeper and deeper, gaze by gaze,

this place beyond the other places,

beyond the body itself,

we are making love


Categories: Poetry

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