Sylvia Plath

Burning The Letters

I made a fire; being tired Of the white fists of old Letters and their death rattle When I came too close to the wastebasket What did they know that I didn't? Grain by grain, they unrolled Sands where a dream of clear water Grinned like a getaway car. I am not subtle Love, love, and well, I was tired Of cardboard cartons the color of cement or a dog pack Holding in it's hate Dully, under a pack of men in red jackets, And the eyes and times of the postmarks. This fire may lick and fawn, but it is merciless: A glass case My fingers would enter although They melt and sag, they are told Do not touch. And here is an end to the writing, The spry hooks that bend and cringe and the smiles, the smiles And at least it will be a good place now, the attic. At least I won't be strung just under the surface, Dumb fish With one tin eye, Watching for glints, Riding my Arctic Between this wish and that wish. So, I poke at the carbon birds in my housedress. They are more beautiful than my bodiless owl, They console me-- Rising and flying, but blinded. They would flutter off, black and glittering, they would be coal angels Only they have nothing to say but anybody. I have seen to that. With the butt of a rake I flake up papers that breathe like people, I fan them out Between the yellow lettuces and the German cabbage Involved in it's weird blue dreams Involved in a foetus. And a name with black edges Wilts at my foot, Sinuous orchis In a nest of root-hairs and boredom-- Pale eyes, patent-leather gutturals! Warm rain greases my hair, extinguishes nothing. My veins glow like trees. The dogs are tearing a fox. This is what it is like A read burst and a cry That splits from it's ripped bag and does not stop With that dead eye And the stuffed expression, but goes on Dyeing the air, Telling the particles of the clouds, the leaves, the water What immortality is. That it is immortal.

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