I was trying to read Anne Sexton's poetry tonight
the poetry of a wounded bird
behind the mad bars of her own life
dreams of metamorphosis
of turning a cage gilded with raw nerves
into a cocoon
and all I could think of
was your story of her life
of how her husband and family
kept her madness among the garden beds
where she could pull at it like weeds
and when she left them
her derangements burst from her eyes
and her sad insanity flowed over her tongue
like water over a stone
ruining her carpets and wallpaper
and friends began to pull away from her
like wet boards warping in sunlight
and she was trying to fly but her wings flapped like shirts
on a clothesline
and this time when death
offered her the earthen womb
she took it
and entered her garage
searching among the exhaust fumes
for the odor of wings
Her darkness has its addresses.
This was her habit.
The moon is proud of his powdered cheeks
as he steps into her bony coffin.
She sucked her words into a night
with many hidden odors
lying with the skinny needles
of yesterday's lilies
and wearing her black cosmetics.
Now her children study
the genealogy of suicide
and dial us the numbers of despair.
We dream that our ovens too will open
like the pages of a slick magazine
as we pull nervously at her poems
like a drawer full of kitchen knives.