Not once—not when I toppled, rigid, a
5'7" pine felled,
stiff as a board, a five and a half foot
plank, 16 x 32,
and not while I wallowed on the rug among
his oxygen tubes and my cane and his 8
wheelchair wheels, and not when I sat by his
hospice bed, chirping I’m fine!,
and not the next day, when the brilliant violet
and black slash-slathered in my easy-life skin,
or days later when the purple turned yellow and the
blue green—never once when I
said No pain, Nothing broken,
did I feel lucky, did I measure the force of the
blow, the floor speeding up like a heavy-weight’s
smash to my cheek and eyebrow, not until
today, did I begin to feel
grateful for my good fortune—no concussion, no
fracture—as if I expected to be able to be
struck by the earth, a wrecking ball,
and not feel it—
as when someone on the other side of the world,
or the city, is struck in my name, I do not feel it.

Copyright © 2022 by Sharon Olds. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 2, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.