Like gnats around a streetlight in summer,
The children we could have,
The glimmer of them.
Sometimes I feel them waiting, dozing
In some antechamber - servants, half-
Listening for the bell.
Sometimes I see them lying like love letters
In the Dead Letter Office
And sometimes, like tonight, by some black
Second sight I can feel just one of them
Standing on the edge of a cliff by the sea
In the dark, stretching its arms out
Desperately to me.
Seeing the title of this poem reminded me of the previous poem where Olds and her love decided to have an abortion. I see this poem as sort of a sequel to that one. In this poem, Olds uses a variety of metaphors to speak of the child or children she would've had if she didn't have the abortion. She speaks of the child as a presence, someone that is there, yet she can not reach them. This poem is sad. The abortion has left a hole in Olds' heart and she can't get her mind off the child she could've had. I feel that this poem opens up to the sadness that mother may feel from having an abortion. It scream whether the poem is for or against abortion, but this poem does open eyes to the fact of the matter that abortion not only hurts the child, but it hurts the mother too. It is an emotional scar that seems to remain on the mother for the rest of her life and doesn't heal even when that mother does have children. This poem is shorter compared to olds' other poems, and doesn't really tell a story or of an event either. It is a creative way of Olds describing her feelings and releasing her inner turmoil.