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Poetry

Sylvia Plath

While Sylvia Plath Studies The Joy of Cooking On Her Honeymoon In Benidorm, Spain,
Delmore Schwartz Reclines In The Front Seat Of His Buick Roadmaster

While Sylvia Plath studies The Joy of Cooking on her honeymoon in Benidorm, Spain,
Delmore Schwartz reclines in the front seat of his Buick Roadmaster
listening to a Giants game on the car radio.
The car's parked on his farmland in Baptistown,
New Jersey, where obstinate plants attempt survival
at great odds, their vital spikes insulting and defending.
The thistle fans its prickly leaves,
the burdock hustles, miserly. Its dry-as death-seed
will outlast you, traveller, its dry-as-hope seedling will use you,
tenacious as the leftover god, the eye-of-the-needle-god,
the straggly one, the Shylock, who lent you your life,
who chose this desert wilderness for exile.
He manifests the empty field for you to wander.
He removeth your brilliance and set you in a basket
alone among the rushes. He maketh the coral of Seconal
and suffers you to recline in the evergreen Dexamyl shade,
while Ernie Harwell calls the last out
(Willie Jones popping up to Al Dark)
in the car's radium glow. Do you see it, American poetry?
The happy arc of the ball above Shibe Park—
a moment of promise falling off, coming to nothing.
Disappearing to atoms. Giants win, 4-2.

In Benidorm, Plath skins the market rabbit, hind to head.
She'll flour and sear the taut pink flesh
and scrape the carrots naked. Spain is a million things,
it's lantanas and hibiscus, it's roses that aren't ashamed
to split their skirts for love, rude flowers pushing out of their skins,
and all-new vines hugging the old walls, new ascendency,
shooting up into skies like something about to matter.
The peppercorns that season the stew grow in clusters
like glands, ripening, and within each pod is the seed,
the hard, dry, concentrated bitterness for which it is prized.