Sylvia Plath Symposium 2012
The Plath scholars zigzag like bees
between limestone buildings
to the Lilly Library.
They check at the front desk
their raincoats, purses, happiness, and sanity
to enter the Slocum Room which houses
you. Ach, du.
And I among them, I am only twenty.
I sit in the back, waiting for you to rise from the dead.
Your letters, academic papers, paintings, lecture notes, and journals
jolt me to a stop. You are the pure gold baby
whose eyes once looked upon these drafts.
Who leaned over a typewriter and aligned, aligned, aligned.
Rhymes, words, and themes.
I slide my thumb over a tiny drawing of a theater
inked in the margin of your black journal.
So many thumbs now slide over your corpus
and forefingers caress a tress of your hair,
one of seven your mother sold.
We covet your DNA and poetry,
and pass around vials of dust from your last home.
I would pay a very large charge to see you
blowout eighty candles on your birthday, today.
We secretly pray to bring you
back, back, back from the darkness.
Someone takes out a Ouija board.
We yearn to see you spell ich, ich, ich, ich.
A scholar speaks,
She is here with us.
We close our eyes and feel you
down our backs, a chill god
descending like mist.
The Plath Not Taken
Is it true, Dear Sylvia? Is it you
in that childhood photograph,
your dark blond hair
scattered like leaves
across your shoulders,
your sticky smile floating
between a white cap
The black inscription below says
Sylvia’s latest ambition.
Imagine you, a nurse,
instead of a poet.
How long did you dream it?
When you picked up a pencil to revise
did you pretend it was a syringe?
Did you surmise it was a scalpel
to dissect, dissect, dissect
poor Daddy with?
The three times you came back
after worming your way
into the dirt, nearly dead,
did you wake up to see
Herr Doktor, your friend?