Sylvia Plath

Miss Drake Proceeds To Supper

No novice In those elaborate rituals Which allay the malice Of knotted table and crooked chair, The new woman in the ward Wears purple, steps carefully Among her secret combinations of eggshells And breakable hummingbirds, Footing sallow as a mouse Between the cabbage-roses Which are slowly opening their furred petals To devour and drag her down Into the carpet's design. With bid-quick eyed cocked askew She can see in the nick of time How perilous needles grain the floorboards And outwit their brambled plan; Now through her ambushed air, Adazzle with bright shards Of broken glass, She edges with wary breath, Fending off jag and tooth, Until, turning sideways, She lifts one webbed foot after the other Into the still, sultry weather Of the patients' dining room.

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