Okt 14, 2011

The Bra

by Sharon Olds

It happened, with me, on the left side, first,
I would look down, and the soft skin of the
nipple had become like a blister, as if it had been
lifted by slow puffs of breath
from underneath. It took weeks, months,
a year. And those white harnesses,
like contagion masks for conjoined twins
--if you saw a strap showing, on someone
you knew well enough, you could whisper, in her ear,
It's Snowing Up North. There were bowers to walk through
home from school, trellis arches
like aboveground tunnels, froths of leaves--
that spring, no one was in them, except,
sometimes, a glimpse of police. They found
her body in the summer, the girl in our class
missing since winter, in the paper they printed
the word in French, brassiere, I felt a little
glad she had still been wearing it,
as if a covering, of any
kind, could be a hopeless dignity.
But now they are saying that her bra was buried
in the basement of his house--when she was pulled down into
the ground, she was naked. For the moment I am almost half
glad they tore him apart with Actaeon
electric savaging. In the photo,
the shoulder straps seem to be making
wavering O's, and the sorrow's cups
are O's, and the bands around to the hook
and eye in the back make a broken O.
It looks like something taken down
to the bones--God's apron--God eviscerated--
its plain, cotton ribbons rubbed
with earth. When he said, In as much as ye have
done it unto one of the least
of these my brethren, ye have done it unto
me, he meant girls--or if he'd known better
he would have meant girls.