The Sylvia Plath Forum

Poems inspired by Sylvia Plath

Poet Under Glass

(The Sylvia Plath Collection in the Smith College Library Rare Book Room)

She has been reduced to paper thinness.
Encased in a reliquary of stacked letter-coffins --

Wine-dark boxes, shelved and locked behind glass doors.
She is resurrected daily, a box lifted out, carried

Traylike, in cool librarian fingers, placed
On a shining table. The box opens. See the leaves:

That is all that is left of her insides.
She has not eaten for years. Her veins

Have emptied their redness. Her nerves have become
Dried black scrawls on pink memo paper.

Once she could spring forth, charged with the heat
Of undawned suns beyond the meaning of Alpha and Omega.

Now she must be more careful, calculate the moment.
No one must see it happen -- the escape!

In the silence of an evening, the locked room,
Empty corridors, stairs down to the exit barrier --

It is easy. No alarm sounds. She slips out
Disguised as thin, pure air.

At Logan Airport, a flight cleared for takeoff
Pulls full power for the dash down the runway.

Inside, a woman waves at the blur of Winthrop houses --
"Good-bye, good bye! My children! My sea shells!"

Jack Folsom
Sharon, Vermont, US
1st April 1998


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

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