Poems featured in Plath Profiles

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

and uniform?

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?