• Vidhi

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 woman.   

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.

Dying

Is an art, like everything else.   

I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.   

I do it so it feels 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   

Beware

Beware.

Out of the ash

I rise with my red hair   

And I eat men like air.


- Sylvia Plath

Source: Collected Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1992)




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