Sharon Olds: “Self Portrait, Rear View”


Self Portrait, Rear View

At first I almost do not believe it, in the hotel triple mirror
That that is my body,
In back, below the waist, and above the legs
The thing that doesn’t stop moving when I stop moving
And it doesn’t even look like just one thing
Or even one big double thing
Even the word saddlebags has a smooth calfskin feel to it
Compared to this compendium of net string bags
Shaking our booty of cellulite, fruits, and nuts
Some lumps look like bon bons translated in tact from chocolate box to buttocks
The curl on top showing slightly through my skin
Once I see what I can do with this, I do it
High-stepping to make the rapids of my bottom
Rush and ripple like a world wonder
Slowly I believe what I am seeing
A 54-year-old rear end, once a tight end
High and mighty, almost a chicken butt
Now exhausted as if tragic
But this is not an invasion
My cul-de-sac is not being used to hatch
alien cells, bald peas, gyroscopes, sacks of marbles
It’s my hoard of treasure, my good luck
Not to be dead, yet
But when I toss the main of my ass again
And see in a clutch of eggs, each egg on its own as if shell-less, shudder
I wonder if anyone has ever died looking in a mirror in horror
I think I will not even catch a cold from it
I will go to school to it, to Butt Boot Camp
To the video store where I saw in the window
My hero, my workout jelly roll model, my apotheosis–
Killer Buns.

Sharon Olds, b. 19 November 1942

~ by matt on 24 November 2007.

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