If you want to know what it’s like for Sharon Olds to menstruate, or squeeze her oil-filled pores, or discover her naked father shitting, Blood, Tin, Straw[1] will tell you. If you want to know what her sex life is like (it’s wonderful, trust her!), she’ll tell you, and tell you in prurient, anatomical detail the Greek philosophers would have killed for—she’s the empirical queen of lovemaking, of every secret session of the body.

If I could change one physical thing
about myself, I would retract those tiny
twilit lips which appeared at the mouth
of my body when the children’s heads pressed

     out, I would
haul back up into heaven those little
ladder-tatters, although in the crush
between the babies’ skull-plates and...


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