Prodigal Poem

I seem to lose this poem over and over. I forget its name… I fish through the internet rivers, read dozens of Sharon Olds poems that aren’t “the one.” So I’ve decided to make it a bed here, a place where it can perform a million times–like a senile mind that retells a story each time as though it’s the first.

The Takers
By Sharon Olds

Hitler entered Paris the way my
sister entered my room at night,
sat astride me, squeezed me with her knees,
held her thumbnails to the skin of my wrists and
peed on me, knowing Mother would
never believe my story. It was very
silent, her dim face above me
gleaming in the shadows, the dark gold
smell of her urine spreading through the room, its
heat boiling on my legs, my small
pelvis wet. When the hissing stopped, when the
hole had been scorched in my body, I lay
crisp and charred with shame and felt her
skin glitter in the air, her dark
gold pleasure unfold as he stood over
Napoleon’s tomb and murmured This is the
finest moment of my life
.

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