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Lady Lazarus

I have done it again.

One year in every ten

I manage it–



A sort of walking miracle, my skin

Bright as a Nazi lampshade,

My right foot



A paperweight

My face a featureless, fine

Jew linen.



Peel off the napkin

O my enemy.

Do I terrify?–



The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?

The sour breath

Will vanish in a day.



Soon, soon the flesh

The grave cave ate will be

At home on me



And I a smiling woman.

I am only thirty.

And like the cat I have nine times to die.



This is Number Three.

What a trash

To annihilate each decade.



What a million filaments.

The peanut-crunching crowd

Shoves in to see



Them unwrap me hand and foot–

The big strip tease.

Gentlemen, ladies



These are my hands

My knees.

I may be skin and bone,



Nevertheless, I am the same, identical women.

The first time it happened I was ten.

It was an accident.



The second time I meant

To last it out and not come back at all.

I rocked shut



As a seashell.

They had to call and call

And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.




Is an art, like everything else.

I do it exceptionally well.



I do it so it feels like hell.

I do it so it fells real.

I guess you could say I’ve a call.



It’s easy enough to do it in a cell.

It’s easy enough to do it and stay put.

It’s the theatrical



Comeback in broad day

To the same place, the same face, the same brute

Amused shout:



‘A miracle!’

That knocks me out.

There is a charge.



For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge

For the hearing of my heart–

It really goes.



And there is a charge, a very large charge

For a word or a touch

Or a bit of blood



Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.

So, so, Herr Doktor.

So, Herr Enemy.



I am your opus,

I am your valuable,

The pure gold baby



That melts to a shriek.

I turn and burn.

Do not think I underestimate your great concern.



Ash, ash–

You poke and stir.

Flesh, bone, there is nothing there–



A cake of soap,

A wedding ring,

A gold filling.



Herr God, Herr Lucifer





Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair

And I eat men like air.

Sylvia Plath, Sylvia Plath, Ariel, 1965.
Sylvia Plath
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