Anne Sexton

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

The Doctor Of The Heart - Poem by Anne Sexton

Take away your knowledge, Doktor.
It doesn't butter me up.

You say my heart is sick unto.
You ought to have more respect!

you with the goo on the suction cup.
You with your wires and electrodes

fastened at my ankle and wrist,
sucking up the biological breast.

You with your zigzag machine
playing like the stock market up and down.

Give me the Phi Beta key you always twirl
and I will make a gold crown for my molar.

I will take a slug if you please
and make myself a perfectly good appendix.

Give me a fingernail for an eyeglass.
The world was milky all along.

I will take an iron and press out
my slipped disk until it is flat.

But take away my mother's carcinoma
for I have only one cup of fetus tears.

Take away my father's cerebral hemorrhage
for I have only a jigger of blood in my hand.

Take away my sister's broken neck
for I have only my schoolroom ruler for a cure.

Is there such a device for my heart?
I have only a gimmick called magic fingers.

Let me dilate like a bad debt.
Here is a sponge. I can squeeze it myself.

O heart, tobacco red heart,
beat like a rock guitar.

I am at the ship's prow.
I am no longer the suicide

with her raft and paddle.
Herr Doktor! I'll no longer die

to spite you, you wallowing
seasick grounded man.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, March 29, 2010

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