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The Healers

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By Sharon Olds
winner of the TS Eliot Best Collection of 2012 prize

When they say, If there are any doctors aboard,
would they make themselves known, I remember when my then
husband would rise, and I would get to be
the one he rose from beside. They say now
that it does not work, unless you are equal.
And after those first thirty years,
I was not the one he wanted to rise from
or return to - not I but she who would also
rise, when such were needed. Now I see them,
lifting, side by side, on wide,
medical, wading-bird wings - like storks with the
doctor bags of like-loves-like
dangling from their beaks. Oh well. It was the way
it was, he did not feel happy when words
were called for, and I stood.

• From Stag's Leap, published by Cape Poetry (£10). To order a copy for £8 with free UK p&p call Guardian book service on 0330 333 6846 or visit the Guardian Bookshop


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