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Anne Sexton

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

Oh


It is snowing and death bugs me
as stubborn as insomnia.
The fierce bubbles of chalk,
the little white lesions
settle on the street outside.
It is snowing and the ninety
year old woman who was combing
out her long white wraith hair
is gone, embalmed even now,
even tonight her arms are smooth
muskets at her side and nothing
issues from her but her last word - 'Oh.' Surprised by death.

It is snowing. Paper spots
are falling from the punch.
Hello? Mrs. Death is here!
She suffers according to the digits
of my hate. I hear the filaments
of alabaster. I would lie down
with them and lift my madness
off like a wig. I would lie
outside in a room of wool
and let the snow cover me.
Paris white or flake white
or argentine, all in the washbasin
of my mouth, calling, 'Oh.'
I am empty. I am witless.
Death is here. There is no
other settlement. Snow!
See the mark, the pock, the pock!

Meanwhile you pour tea
with your handsome gentle hands.
Then you deliberately take your
forefinger and point it at my temple,
saying, 'You suicide bitch!
I'd like to take a corkscrew
and screw out all your brains
and you'd never be back ever.'
And I close my eyes over the steaming
tea and see God opening His teeth.
'Oh.' He says.
I see the child in me writing, 'Oh.'
Oh, my dear, not why.

Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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