The Sylvia Plath Forum

Poems inspired by Sylvia Plath

Sodium Pentothal

I do not wear a gas mask. Nothing of that sort.
The oral surgeon ties a rubber band around my forearm
And asks what I study to distract me.
I tell him I am completely addicted to Sylvia Plath--
Like a bad habit, like nicotine.

He has broken the solidarity of my skin.
I tell him I am a poet and this is all material.
Through the Venetian blinds each raindrop makes sense.
The world slows to a blur,
This is the silence of astounded souls.

I'm in London! I'm in London!
I have found solace in an oasis
Of grass at Primrose Hill.
Gulls stiffen to their chill vigil in the drafty half-light;
I enter the house.

Sylvia sits in her study at Fitzroy Road.
She gallops through drafts of poems.
The spirit of blackness is in us, she writes,
And by some deportation I cannot fathom,
She dies and I wake.

Four vacuous holes impulsively secret blood.
To my numb tongue, dumb from anesthesia
My mouth is indefinite. My lips
Flap up and down in swollen undulations.
The nurse solicits that I not attempt to speak as she changes the gauze.

Peter Steinberg



The Sylvia Plath Forum is administered by Elaine Connell, author of Sylvia Plath: Killing The Angel In The House.

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