A sky this empty is a pyromaniac cradling stifled baby
A sky this empty is no sky
A sky this empty is no sky but naked malediction
A sky this empty is a pyromaniac
whose heat swarms
the locked car
cradling stifled baby
A sky this empty devours
A sky is necessary only for marking the horizon of mortality,
just as immortality of sky necessitates the liturgy of superstition:
two pats of salted butter
a shot of whiskey
knock on wood
A sky this empty is not sky but decreation
Summer prose crated in hope?
Seething, forced poems?
Death coming from good health?
Puritan luxuries, like meals.
This is an erasure poem based on pages 308 and 309 of the 1975, First Edition of Letters Home, by Sylvia Plath (ed. Aurelia Schober Plath). I cobbled together phrases from portions of three separate letters written by Sylvia Plath, took the liberty of rearranging my sections, and added punctuation. Despite this, I think the Sylvia’s spirit remains strong.
I’ll admit to having no idea what this means, but it feels true.
The Poet Obscura
Little wonder, you are badly gone.
I was in the kitchen,
ruining the oatmeal.
It bubbled blind beneath a milk caul –
Rancid cheese, fizzing in an unction of olive oil.
That tiny jar stunk up the whole house.
A cadaver smell, but not until hours later.
Hours after I deposited
your pliant body in the copse.
Milk. Cheese. Death.
I, too, exhale rot.
Seven years, seven painful springs.
It was one thing, repeated.
A week before Easter, my sleek Doberman brought me a bunny
with velveteen ovals for ears and an eye cauled with vacancy.
Oh, little wonder, you were too soft!
Your head hung off the shovel
like a silly looker – but completely at peace?
Maybe you were.
Marvel and gawk!
I was spraddled in the dentist’s sloping chair,
opened wide for the scalpel.
He cut out the infection.
He drilled out the disease.
My numb head hung.
The soup of my own death-breath fizzed –
and the taste?
He ran his decayed tongue
over his teeth on the day he rose.
Rabbit, I am not rabbit enough
to out-rabbit you –
whose life was bright,
whose flight was wordless,
whose surrender, true,
who’s nonetheless less.
My body is the offering
to be harvested, bottled, and cultured.
I lie about smoking to keep something to myself.
Sharp earthworm –
the needle is an instrument of harvest
wielded to vint me like wine by a philosophical phlebotomist.
As his earthworm burrows, the philosopher expounds:
“Panache is what evokes hunger and color.”
He vints me. Like wine from a stone, nothing flows.
Nausea overthrows my consideration of blueberries and salmon.
Panache is syncope is static.
Gray clouds fill the curtained space.
My world is a confusion of semaphores
the gray clouds fill.
I give up my greasy sweat.
My world is confusion –
I cannot will myself to bleed!
I give up my consciousness.
Panache is semaphore is sanguine.
It seems I
keep something for myself.
Blood is the sanguine semaphore of
my body, the offering.
Wildflowers, muddy tubers:
My girls tug at their leashes and my hangover.
I am hazy.
Humidity inside and out.
Solstice promises winter relief, but not yet.
Bleary, I walk
Homeward like a faulty Magi.
I’ve pollen-droppings and night soil offerings,
Leftover myrrh –
Bagged, but stronger than frankincense.
Nature keeps her own and rewards with smell
and sight and taste.
Coffee is what I want,
That and a North wind portent older than Bethlehem’s star.
Unwelcome trinity of curs
Rush along the trail we wound in search of wind.
Suffers no love for neighbors.
My girls lunge into the charge, a vestment of hackle,
An arsenal of mouth.
Noise and fear! My legs
Are bared guilt amongst the snapping teeth.
I chose this route,
Decreed to take the trail in reverse,
A pagan unspooling of the year, a poetic talisman,
Demons escape the mirror.
They are silver-furred and baying for blood,
Mine, or my dogs.
I forfeit the mild commandment
Annul it with exultation and become the wind I sought:
A goddess untamed.
Inspiration is literal,
A breath transformed into a scream and horror into creation.
Fury and wonder
Declare this howl divine.
It is awareness, and it is implacable as the seasons
Threshing the years.
The revelation of canines
Breaches the eternally curved edge of infinity,
Carries me with it.