A Story for Rose on the Midnight Flight to Boston
- by Anne Sexton 144Until tonight they were separate specialties,
different stories, the best of their own worst.
Riding my warm cabin home, I remember Betsy's
laughter; she laughed as you did, Rose, at the first
story. Someday, I promised her, I'll be someone
going somewhere and we plotted it in the humdrum
school for proper girls. The next April the plane
bucked me like a horse, my elevators turned
and fear blew down my throat, that last profane
gauge of a stomach coming up. And then returned
to land, as unlovely as any seasick sailor,
sincerely eighteen; my first story, my funny failure.
Maybe Rose, there is always another story,
better unsaid, grim or flat or predatory.
Half a mile down the lights of the in-between cities
turn up their eyes at me. And I remember Betsy's
story, the April night of the civilian air crash
and her sudden name misspelled in the evening paper,
the interior of shock and the paper gone in the trash
ten years now. She used the return ticket I gave her.
This was the rude kill of her; two planes cracking
in mid-air over Washington, like blind birds.
And the picking up afterwards, the morticians tracking
bodies in the Potomac and piecing them like boards
to make a leg or a face. There is only her miniature
photograph left, too long now for fear to remember.
Special tonight because I made her into a story
that I grew to know and savor.
A reason to worry,
Rose, when you fix an old death like that,
and outliving the impact, to find you've pretended.
We bank over Boston. I am safe. I put on my hat.
I am almost someone going home. The story has ended.
A Curse Against Elegies
- by Anne Sexton 131Oh, love, why do we argue like this?
I am tired of all your pious talk.
Also, I am tired of all the dead.
They refuse to listen,
so leave them alone.
Take your foot out of the graveyard,
they are busy being dead.
Everyone was always to blame:
the last empty fifth of booze,
the rusty nails and chicken feathers
that stuck in the mud on the back doorstep,
the worms that lived under the cat's ear
and the thin-lipped preacher
who refused to call
except once on a flea-ridden day
when he came scuffing in through the yard
looking for a scapegoat.
I hid in the kitchen under the ragbag.
I refuse to remember the dead.
And the dead are bored with the whole thing.
But you - you go ahead,
go on, go on back down
into the graveyard,
lie down where you think their faces are;
talk back to your old bad dreams.
Poems by Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton's poems collection. Anne Sexton is a classical and famous poet (9 November 1928 - 4 October 1974 / Newton, Massachusetts). Share all poems of Anne Sexton.
© Poems are the property of their respective owners, reproduced here for educational and informational purposes, and is provided at no charge.