Love Poem for Anne Sexton

Daryl Sznyter

I, too, have been asked why I’m always grieving,

have been told to shed the red lipstick and haltered

dresses, to stop being so fucking weird around dinner

guests. I fell in love with you, Anne, one February

more than a decade ago. My own poems began

as prayers for your wellness. Like you, I’ve always felt

far from God, but if I believe in anything, I believe

in wellness. I take my kill-me pills like a good girl,

drawing strength from you when they make me sick

and flatten my voice and my sex and my once-liberated

eyes. Even my womanness is a half-thing, Anne,

as you well know what they say about pills and stillbirths,

pills and defects, pills and hormones, and poisoned breast milk.

When I lapse into those trances we share, I, too, derive joy

from suicide fantasies with household objects. The use

of tablecloth as noose or sink as river are pornographies

to me on my most airless days. It is my love of you, Anne,

that keeps me prisoner aboveground. I want to get better

to make you proud in the way a mother celebrates her

daughter’s birthday each year, awestruck over and over

that something so vicious came from her soft belly.

Daryl Sznyter Author Photo.jpg

Daryl Sznyter is the author of Synonyms for (OTHER) Bodies (New York Quarterly Books). Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has been published or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, Folio, Gravel, Phoebe, Best American Poetry Blog, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from The New School. She currently resides in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where she works as an SEO Analyst. To learn more, visit facebook: author central: