For my lover, returning to his wife by Anne Sexton


For my lover, returning to his wife


She is all there.

She was melted carefully down for you

and cast up from your childhood,

cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.

She has always been there, my darling.

She is, in fact, exquisite.

Fireworks in the dull middle of February

and as real as a cast-iron pot.

Let’s face it, I have been momentary.

A luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.

My hair rising like smoke from the car window.

Littleneck clams out of season.

She is more than that. She is your have to have,

has grown you your practical your tropical growth.

This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.

She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,

has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,

sat by the potter’s wheel at midday,

set forth three children under the moon,

three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,

done this with her legs spread out

in the terrible months in the chapel.

If you glance up, the children are there

like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.

She has also carried each one down the hall

after supper, their heads privately bent,

two legs protesting, person to person,

her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.

I give you back your heart.

I give you permission –

for the fuse inside her, throbbing

angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her

and the burying of her wound –

for the burying of her small red wound alive –

for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,

for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,

for the mother’s knee, for the stocking,

for the garter belt, for the call –

the curious call

when you will burrow in arms and breasts

and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair

and answer the call, the curious call.

She is so naked and singular

She is the sum of yourself and your dream.

Climb her like a monument, step after step.

She is solid.

As for me, I am a watercolor.

I wash off.



Anne Sexton


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.