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'December 18th' / Anne Sexton

So here's a muscular, sexy poem from Anne Sexton for the beginning of Spring. It's the last poem in her 1969 sequence "Eighteen Days Without You" - the day before her lover returns. Sexton is famous as a confessional poet, and this poem has some of the same syntactical jumping as John Berryman, another of that school. But re-reading Sexton, I am struck by the bravery and unbashful brio of her writing. There is none of the tiptoeing that bedevils contemporary poetry about sex. It's messy and conflicted and yet very alive.

Swift boomerang, come get!

I am delicate. You've been gone.

The losing has hurt me some, yet

I must bend for you. See me arch. I'm turned on.

My eyes are lawn-coloured, my hair brunette.

Kiss the package, Mr. Bind!

Yes? Would you consider hurling yourself

upon me, rigorous but somehow kind?

I am laid out like paper on your cabin kitchen shelf.

So draw me a breast. I like to be underlined.

Look, lout! Say yes!

Draw me like a child. I shall need

merely two round eyes and a small kiss.

A small o. Two earrings would be nice. Then proceed

to the shoulder. You may pause at this.

Catch me. I'm your disease.

Please go slow all along the torso

drawing beads and mouths and trees

and o's, a little graffiti and a small hello

for I grab, I nibble, I lift, I please.

Draw me good, draw me warm.

Bring me your raw-boned wrist and your

strange, Mr. Bind, strange stubborn horn.

Darling, bring with this an hour of undulations, for

this is the music for which I was born

Lock in! Be alert, my acrobat

and I will be soft wood and you the nail

and we will make firey ovens for Jack Sprat

and you will hurl yourself into my tiny jail

and we will take supper together and that

will be that.

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