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Sharon Olds | The Nation

Sharon Olds

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Sharon Olds

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Poet Sharon Olds writes an open letter to Laura Bush, explaining why she won't break bread at the White House.

It was curled on the pavement, forehead to knees,

as if it had died while bowing. Its stripes

were citrine-yellow, and the black of a moonless

starless, clear night. It did not

belong on a street, to be stepped on, I picked it

up in a fold of glove, and in the taxi

canted it onto a floral hankie,

a small, thin, cotton death-glade--

and the bee moved, one foreleg,

like an arm, feebly, as if old. It seemed

not long for this world, and it seemed I could not

save it, and had been saved, by its gesture,

from smothering it all day in my bag. I would have

liked to set it in a real glade,

but I thought that it might still, right now,

be suffering, yet I could not kill it

directly--I shook it, from the hankie, out the window,

onto West End Avenue,

hoping that, before a tire

killed it, instantly, it would hear

and feel huge rushes of tread and wind,

like flight, like the bee-god's escape.