Sharon Olds

(November 19, 1942 / San Francisco)

Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942


Everything has been taken that anyone
thought worth taking. The stairs are tilted,
scattered with sycamore leaves curled
like ammonites in inland rock.
Wood shows through the paint on the frame
and the door is open--an empty room,
sunlight on the floor. All that is left
on the porch is the hollow cylinder
of an Albert's Quick Oats cardboard box
and a sewing machine. Its extraterrestrial
head is bowed, its scrolled neck
glistens. I was born, that day, near there,
in wartime, of ignorant people.

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Japanese-American Farmhouse, California, 1942 by Sharon Olds )

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  • Colleen Courtney (5/15/2014 10:37:00 AM)

    Have to agree with Rita's comment. Made me feel as if I was secretly getting a glimpse of a place I was not supposed to be. A compelling write! (Report) Reply

  • Rita Cerniglia (3/13/2010 1:45:00 AM)

    What the eye describes in images - becomes the resulting revelation.
    I feel as though I have intruded on someone else's property and witnessed something that I was not invited to see. So compelling! (Report) Reply

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