to anne sexton:

in truth, i think you would have been disgusted with me

have we ever to meet

in a crowded book signing, or a busy parisian street.

you, graceful like a swan

the most elegant of things

and i an unfortunate duck, plodding along on my too-big feet, quacking away

half-assed soliloquies and sonnets, never to be.

i'm sure i would have asked for advice

or stuttered, rather; since that is my nature.

spastic, with spit flying out between my teeth

you would've smiled, politely, graciously

and told me to turn away.

or maybe you would not have been so dismissive!

it is a fantasy, after all

i would have handed you a scribbled manuscript, with the eyes of

an excited dog, bouncing up and down, frisky against feet and hungry for a treat.

you'd smell talent at the end of your beautiful snout,

like one of those pigs scoping out truffles

and you'd encourage me

rather fanatically

"yes! by GOD, little poet! spread your wings and fly!!!"

and then i would, at the end of some mountain in the alps

all to be like icarus, surrounded in my own deafening craziness

to touch the sun for three glorious hotfire minutes and

burial at sea.

oh, if i only had the luck of time and geography

to be in robert lowell's poetry workshop

with you and sylvia, evenings in boston

hell, maybe we'd all drive around afterwards

to have martinis wrapped between our long, lithe fingers

we'd compare suicides and children and husbands, or maybe just

you and sylvia, chatting away gaily

i'd stare longingly out the closed windows of the car,

you wouldn't have accepted me.

these are only fantasies, anne

i have no way of knowing

you did yourself in, not a surprise

to anyone who'd seen life- even briefly-

from the back of your eyes.

there you were though

in a fur coat, radio on, in your car

awaiting the final symphony.

anne! anne! ANNE! you can't hear me

you never will turn any unjust ear

you're gone; out of this earthly sphere

--- but you left your footprints everywhere

now, now

you belong to the endlessness;

a depository of history.

(i wish i scribbled this furiously on a napkin as a kind of fan letter...sadly, no.)