She is neurotic but she will do
that’s what they all are anyway,
bathe in the spark till it lasts and
let the rest burn her dry bones away.

She is neurotic but tears turn to ember
when words touches her pen, confusion to cinder,
lust and glory in her veins she carries
which are drying faster than her womb. Soon
she will know it too if she doesn’t already.

She is neurotic and now they publicize it too
There are voices and there are murmurs
on the streets and in her head. They do not
let her sleep, not in a quiet country house and
not in a crowded city where sound never rests.


Husbands and Doctors and still other voices
dead for centuries, frighten her in her dreams.
They slide their cold hands under the blanket
and touch her not-yet-grown breasts

they ask her not to talk
they ask her to have patience
they ask her not to write
It is not yet time, they say.

She lays awake—

There will be someone who will want to hear her
there must be— she thinks

Only, they don’t.

She is mumbling again, they say
She speaks Greek, they say
She can’t find the way and therefore sits by the yew tree, they say.

She lays afloat—

Maybe they should not listen after all.
This is no place for a woman writer
This is no place for a woman at all.


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