Treasure Island

Anne Sexton

(9 November 1928 – 4 October 1974 / Newton, Massachusetts)

Cripples and Other Stories


My doctor, the comedian
I called you every time
and made you laugh yourself
when I wrote this silly rhyme...


Each time I give lectures
or gather in the grants
you send me off to boarding school
in training pants.

God damn it, father-doctor,
I'm really thirty-six.
I see dead rats in the toilet.
I'm one of the lunatics.

Disgusted, mother put me
on the potty. She was good at this.
My father was fat on scotch.
It leaked from every orifice.

Oh the enemas of childhood,
reeking of outhouses and shame!
Yet you rock me in your arms
and whisper my nickname.

Or else you hold my hand
and teach me love too late.
And that's the hand of the arm
they tried to amputate.

Though I was almost seven
I was an awful brat.
I put it in the Easy Wringer.
It came out nice and flat.

I was an instant cripple
from my finger to my shoulder.
The laundress wept and swooned.
My mother had to hold her.

I know I was a cripple.
Of course, I'd known it from the start.
My father took the crowbar
and broke the wringer's heart.

The surgeons shook their heads.
They really didn't know-
Would the cripple inside of me
be a cripple that would show?

My father was a perfect man,
clean and rich and fat.
My mother was a brilliant thing.
She was good at that.

You hold me in your arms.
How strange that you're so tender!
Child-woman that I am,
you think that you can mend her.

As for the arm,
unfortunately it grew.
Though mother said a withered arm
would put me in Who's Who.

For years she has described it.
She sang it like a hymn.
By then she loved the shrunken thing,
my little withered limb.

My father's cells clicked each night,
intent on making money.
And as for my cells, they brooded,
little queens, on honey.

Oh boys too, as a matter of fact,
and cigarettes and cars.
Mother frowned at my wasted life.
My father smoked cigars.

My cheeks blossomed with maggots.
I picked at them like pearls.
I covered them with pancake.
I wound my hair in curls.

My father didn't know me
but you kiss me in my fever.
My mother knew me twice
and then I had to leave her.

But those are just two stories
and I have more to tell
from the outhouse, the greenhouse
where you draw me out of hell.

Father, I am thirty-six,
yet I lie here in your crib.
I'm getting born again, Adam,
as you prod me with your rib.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Edited: Thursday, November 10, 2011

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Cripples and Other Stories by Anne Sexton )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

New Poems

  1. Doubts emerge, hasmukh amathalal
  2. A little girl's eyes, Cigeng Zhang
  3. A ship, hasmukh amathalal
  4. The Daughter of the Earth- 22, gajanan mishra
  5. The Daughter of the Earth - 21, gajanan mishra
  6. Self - Raising, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  7. Sunshine In Your Eyes, Eleonor Santiago
  8. Run, run, run and running, gajanan mishra
  9. Run, run, run, gajanan mishra
  10. What About Tomorrow, Claude H Oliver II

Poem of the Day

poet Paul Laurence Dunbar

The mist has left the greening plain,
The dew-drops shine like fairy rain,
The coquette rose awakes again
Her lovely self adorning.

The Wind is hiding in the trees,
...... Read complete »

   

Trending Poems

  1. 04 Tongues Made Of Glass, Shaun Shane
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  7. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  8. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. O Captain! My Captain!, Walt Whitman
  10. If, Rudyard Kipling

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]