Sonnet after Sylvia Plath’s “Metaphors”

This house of fine fruit, melon,
the yeasty tendrils

I’ve eaten
a two train riddle 

boarded new-minted apples
in a loaf’s bag
with O syllables: 
off, on. No big —

getting fat, in calf-cow stage
I’m a rising nine, 
strolling in red timbers — 
I’m fine 

means
still green.

Hot Summer

Language doesn’t always reveal one’s head

thereby “hot summer,”
the frantic man recalls
of his day on the sun,

as he watches the TV woman
coax a wax pepper
under boiling water,
to sweat off its bitter suit.

Psalm 119:71

Truth from your mouth means more to me than striking it rich in a gold mine. With your very own hands you formed me

from an image of melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

See me — in my woolen strings, stretched
across the fuel bed, contemplating
what you meant by “Soon.”

Between the low heat of combustion,
and the failure of your flame
to spread away from the wick,
I feel set up,

enough to do a whip-around,
to ask Can you clarify that?
Can you sift the cloudy water for
clear, cold fat?

I see you — in serene objectivity,
bowed over the river stone ring,
pondering the gravity of
your mere existence;

while I hang on your every word,
like a small lamb splayed
on a spit, watching them spread

from throat towards tongue,
until you lick on just one
that lands on my drum,
like brown butter.

Inexplicably nutty and fragrant,
complex in a way
that plain butter just isn’t.
When will you see me?

“Soon.”

Persephone

My therapist asked me to write a letter to you, not to send, but to put at the back of the silverware drawer.

Eventually, we hope that I stop looking for you there—
in my upside-down reflection on a spoon;

and learn to separate my body image from your body.
It has been 20 years, yet I still carry this image of you

in stepmother’s kitchen,
playing at the “Don’t touch!” stove,
by no rules about sugar;
cracking eggs, stirring batter.


Not even a sugar high could redeem this grown-up day.
There is cake in the break room, and singing:
“I really shouldn’t eat this, but” harmonized with
“You’re so thin, how did you do it?”

without her knowing,
you licked the bowl
with measured sensuality
and unconscious desire.

And there’s still something sensual about feeling the weight
of an egg in my hand, holding the threads, like the tail
of a blackhead, longer than they’re meant to be held onto;
until the white slips through my fingers,

and all that’s left is the yolk of it. The heaviest part
of letting go is accepting everything just as it is,

and waiting— for a soft boil,
you dropped your hard-
-shelled heart
and a hint of vinegar.


And I still use bitterness to cope with my cracking,
tasting for your buttermilk skin,
porous as a pancake;
its texture is impossible to reconcile.

It has been 20 years, yet I still struggle
to embrace the absoluteness of your body
becoming my body,
and hold the shell of you up to my face.