Anne Sexton

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

'Daddy' Warbucks


What's missing is the eyeballs
in each of us, but it doesn't matter
because you've got the bucks, the bucks, the bucks.
You let me touch them, fondle the green faces
lick at their numbers and it lets you be
my 'Daddy! ' 'Daddy! ' and though I fought all alone
with molesters and crooks, I knew your money
would save me, your courage, your 'I've had
considerable experience as a soldier...
fighting to win millions for myself, it's true.
But I did win, ' and me praying for 'our men out there'
just made it okay to be an orphan whose blood was no one's,
whose curls were hung up on a wire machine and electrified,
while you built and unbuilt intrigues called nations,
and did in the bad ones, always, always,
and always came at my perils, the black Christs of childhood,
always came when my heart stood naked in the street
and they threw apples at it or twelve-day-old-dead-fish.

'Daddy! ' 'Daddy, ' we all won that war,
when you sang me the money songs
Annie, Annie you sang
and I knew you drove a pure gold car
and put diamonds in you coke
for the crunchy sound, the adorable sound
and the moon too was in your portfolio,
as well as the ocean with its sleepy dead.
And I was always brave, wasn't I?
I never bled?
I never saw a man expose himself.
No. No.
I never saw a drunkard in his blubber.
I never let lightning go in one car and out the other.
And all the men out there were never to come.
Never, like a deluge, to swim over my breasts
and lay their lamps in my insides.
No. No.
Just me and my 'Daddy'
and his tempestuous bucks
rolling in them like corn flakes
and only the bad ones died.

But I died yesterday,
'Daddy, ' I died,
swallowing the Nazi-Jap animal
and it won't get out
it keeps knocking at my eyes,
my big orphan eyes,
kicking! Until eyeballs pop out
and even my dog puts up his four feet
and lets go
of his military secret
with his big red tongue
flying up and down
like yours should have

as we board our velvet train.

Submitted: Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Edited: Wednesday, August 11, 2010

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