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Once in a While I Gave Up

Once in a while I gave up, and let myself
remember how much I'd liked the way my ex's
hips were set, the head of the femur which
rode, not shallow, not deep, in the socket
of the pelvis, wrapped in the iliofemoral and
ischiofemoral ligaments,
the ball bearings suspended just so
to give him that walk. Wooden yokes, in
grade-school foreign-country-custom
movies, had moved like that, over opulent
zinc buckets of milk—the motion
was authentic, it was from another place, it was
planetary, it was model-of-the-solar-
systemic. I idolized it without
reserve, caution, or limit, I loved it with an
unprotected joy. Months,
a year later, I still dreamed it
sometimes, the illusion of a constellation
visible only from the earth's vantage,
the glittering peaks of his iliac crest:
A is to B up, as B is to
C across, as C is to D
down, bright winching bitings, I even
let my right hand describe
the curve of that posterior, cool
thirty-year-long night's gibbous
now set—in stubborn fundamentalist
conviction my hand described the mortal crescent.

Sharon Olds

The Georgia Review

Winter 2011

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