The Summer Before Your Birth

By Christine Fraser
Feature image: The Yellow Curtain, c. 1893 by Edouard Vuillard

–after Sharon Olds

our girl we’ll tell you how it was then
how the lake spread out to the east of us
how we sailed out on it tacking and jibing
learning to round the marks
how we walked miles under skyscrapers
we could see no end we could have gone anywhere
a year later the city collapsed
down to our three rooms
all was the rocking and the crying
a bowl of black cherries
water in the tub
billowing yellow curtains
how quickly the city spun down
to you between us in our bed


Christine Fraser’s work has also appeared in Blue Earth Review. She lives with her husband and their two children in Minneapolis.

Feature image: Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection. Courtesy National Gallery of Art

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