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Back to The Poetry of Sylvia Plath: Crash Course Literature 216
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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.