Relinquishment — Sharon Olds
On a black night in early March,
the fire hot, my daughter says
Wrap me in something. I get the old
grey quilt, gleaming like a sloughed
insect casing, and wrap it around and
around her narrow nine-year-old body,
hollow and flexible. Cover my face,
she hisses in excitement. I cover her face
and fall back from the narrow, silver
shape on the carpet.
she is getting away—an Egyptian child
bound in gauze, set in a boat
on a black night in early March
and pushed out on the water, given
over to the gods of the next world
who will find her
and not find her.
from The Dead and the Living (Knopf, 1984)
2 thoughts on “Release”
Thanks, Gavin. I like that word “sloughed,” sounds old and earthy to me.
‘like a sloughed insect casing’
I had to look it up.
(the outer layer of the skin of a snake, which is cast off periodically)
Love the photo too.