Poem of the Week: Diaphragm Aria by Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds

Diaphragm Aria

It’s curious and sweet to slip it out
and look inside, to see what’s there,
like a treasure hunt, small toys
and dolls tucked into the root-floor of the woods,
or tilt up a stone in the yard and find,
in the groove of her path, the flame-brown newt. Now I
read the shallow cup of dregs,
shreds like clothes torn away in
eagerness — cloth of the bodies — which rips
to a cloud of threads. Here our daughter
never picked her finicky way,
here our son never somersaulted,
here only our not-children
advanced, and dropped, and surged forward
and were cut down, there a coil
of tail, here a ladyfinger, a
curl, a bone of the twin. When I have reached
into myself, and glistened out the dome,
I search its planetarium sky
for its weather, ivory nimbus, reach
of summer showers — these are the heavens
under which the grateful bodies
went to earth, dense with contentment,
moving, together, for those hour-long
moments, in a mattery paradise,
I gave into the cumulus
of spermicide, I bless the lollers who
stay in that other sphere as we come
like surf on the shore of it.

Categories: Poems

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2 replies

  1. This kinda reminds me of when tampons were first introduced into the marketplace. I had struggled with learning to follow the directions that came with the package. Then one day I was in the restroom at UT Commons and the woman in the next stall was cursing, carrying on and complaining loudly. It was Janis Joplin, “How the hell am I supposed to use these GD tampons?!?
    I talked her through the rigmarole and went back to the table I was with in the Student Union. As a joke I must have mentioned that I had just taught Janis Joplin to use tampons, and forgot about it. Thirty years later one of my college contemporaries asked me about the incident. It all came back. I recall it as if it were yesterday. I doubt that Janis knew it was me who had talked her through it. We knew one another but just slightly.


  1. Odes on tampons, stretch marks, fat « Lyrikzeitung & Poetry News

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