This dead body is to be treated with respect, not to be left alone or to be donated to the anatomy lab, or for organ transplantation. For the narrator, there is little difference between this body of her dead father and the unconscious body she remembers from so much of her childhood. She cannot make the distinction emotionally between the dead and the living father, " . . . this was the one I had known anyway, / this man made of rich substance."


This is from the collection of poems written by Olds about a father's terminal illness and death, and retrospectively, about a life together (see also in this database The Waiting, The Pulling, Beyond Harm, Waste Sonata).

Primary Source

The Father



Place Published

New York