Anne Sexton





August 17th

Good for visiting hospitals or charitable work. Take
some time to attend to your health.

Surely I will be disquieted 
by the hospital, that body zone- 
bodies wrapped in elastic bands, 
bodies cased in wood or used like telephones, 
bodies crucified up onto their crutches, 
bodies wearing rubber bags between their legs, 
bodies vomiting up their juice like detergent, 
bodies smooth and bare as darning eggs.

Here in this house 
there are other bodies. 
Whenever I see a six-year-old 
swimming in our aqua pool 
a voice inside me says what can't be told... 
Ha, someday you'll be old and withered 
and tubes will be in your nose 
drinking up your dinner. 
Someday you'll go backward. You'll close 
up like a shoebox and you'll be cursed 
as you push into death feet first. 

Here in the hospital, I say, 
that is not my body, not my body. 
I am not here for the doctors 
to read like a recipe. 
No. I am a daisy girl 
blowing in the wind like a piece of sun. 
On ward 7 there are daisies, all butter and pearl 
but beside a blind man who can only 
eat up the petals and count to ten. 
The nurses skip rope around him and shiver 
as his eyes wiggle like mercury and then 
they dance from patient to patient to patient 
throwing up little paper medicine cups and playing 
catch with vials of dope as they wait for new accidents. 
Bodies made of synthetics. Bodies swaddled like dolls 
whom I visit and cajole and all they do is hum 
like computers doing up our taxes, dollar by dollar. 
Each body is in its bunker. The surgeon applies his gum. 
Each body is fitted quickly into its ice-cream pack 
and then stitched up again for the long voyage 
back.