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Rite Of Passage Sharon Olds Essay About Myself

As the guests arrive at our son’s party   

they gather in the living room—

short men, men in first grade

with smooth jaws and chins.

Hands in pockets, they stand around

jostling, jockeying for place, small fights

breaking out and calming. One says to another

How old are you? —Six. —I’m seven. —So?

They eye each other, seeing themselves   

tiny in the other’s pupils. They clear their   

throats a lot, a room of small bankers,

they fold their arms and frown. I could beat you

up, a seven says to a six,

the midnight cake, round and heavy as a

turret behind them on the table. My son,

freckles like specks of nutmeg on his cheeks,   

chest narrow as the balsa keel of a   

model boat, long hands

cool and thin as the day they guided him   

out of me, speaks up as a host

for the sake of the group.

We could easily kill a two-year-old,

he says in his clear voice. The other   

men agree, they clear their throats

like Generals, they relax and get down to   

playing war, celebrating my son’s life.

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