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More poems by Anne SextonAnne Sexton | Print this page.Print | View and Write CommentsComments | Books by Anne SextonBooks by Anne Sexton

The Dead Heart

Anne Sexton

After I wrote this, a friend scrawled on this page, "Yes."

And I said, merely to myself, "I wish it could be for a
different seizure--as with Molly Bloom and her Ďand
yes I said yes I will Yes."


It is not a turtle
hiding in its little green shell.
It is not a stone
to pick up and put under your black wing.
It is not a subway car that is obsolete.
It is not a lump of coal that you could light.
It is a dead heart.
It is inside of me.
It is a stranger
yet once it was agreeable,
opening and closing like a clam.

What it has cost me you can't imagine,
shrinks, priests, lovers, children, husbands,
friends and all the lot.
An expensive thing it was to keep going.
It gave back too.
Don't deny it!
I half wonder if April would bring it back to life?
A tulip? The first bud?
But those are just musings on my part,
the pity one has when one looks at a cadaver.

How did it die?
I called it EVIL.
I said to it, your poems stink like vomit.
I didn't stay to hear the last sentence.
It died on the word EVIL.
It did it with my tongue.
The tongue, the Chinese say,
is like a sharp knife:
it kills
without drawing blood.

Added: 31 Aug 2001 | Last Read: 25 Apr 2018 2:37 PM | Viewed: 10117 times

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URL: http://plagiarist.com/poetry/619/ | Viewed on 25 April 2018.
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