And Then What Happened, Sylvia?

I want to taste and glory in each day, and never be afraid to experience pain; and never shut myself up in a numb core of nonfeeling, or stop questioning and criticizing life and take the easy way out. To learn and think: to think and live; to live and learn: this always, with new insight, new understanding, and new love.
— Sylvia Plath, “The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath”

How did it go from fearlessness
to kneeling in front of the oven’s door?

I am not judging you. But I am curious.
Sometimes I weep, well, sob, really,

and I don’t know why. And sometimes
I know exactly why the tears arrive,

but the knowing doesn’t make them
any less salty in the wounds I don’t show the world.

Sometimes I burn so hot inside I’m sure a thousand
thousand fireworks will soon explode

and I’ll splatter inside my own kitchen.
I think what stops me is I don’t want to leave such a mess.

And sometimes I drop to the warm limestone tile
and curl into the smallest ball I can crumple

these thinning bones into. Sometimes when it happens
this way—either the fireworks or the tissue response—

I have noticed I can watch my body as it practices drama,
as if I am in another part of the room. And the other me,

the one watching, has a mind made of sky. And it almost
smiles at the heap of a woman on the floor, but not quite.

There’s no real pleasure, but no sorrow either.
The other me just watches her. I suppose it’s similar to the way

I sometimes watch you in my mind as you turn the temperature dials
and begin to crouch. I wouldn’t do it, Sylvia. I love

this life so much—its petals on the grave, its stumps
in the forest, its diligent grasses and yes yes yes this

most amazing blue sky and all the vast space
and stars and darkness behind it which sometimes

I become.


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