Wanting to Die

Wanting to Die

Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.

Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.

But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.

Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.

In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.

I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.

Still-born, they don’t always die,
but dazzled, they can’t forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.

To thrust all that life under your tongue!—
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love whatever it was, an infection.

–Anne Sexton

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Wanting to Die

  1. Thanks for sharing, that’s heartbreakingly sad and beautiful

  2. Reblogged this on Multi-Me and commented:
    This poem touched me deeply. I hope it touches you too.

  3. I loved this. It expresses our feelings about suicide really well. I reblogged it. XX

  4. jesuswithoutbaggage

    Nobe, who is ‘the enemy’ in this verse?

    • I didn’t write it, and Anne Sexton is dead, so I can only guess. My reading of it has tended toward the enemy as a personification of death, the implication being that the speaker has attempted suicide twice before. Sexton did make multiple suicide attempts, so that seems like a pretty sound interpretation to me.

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