Issue 17 | Summer 2015

Sylvia Plath in the Kitchen

“Poetry is the blood-jet.
There is no stopping it”
—Sylvia Plath

A drop of red on the wooden cutting board
alongside the slab of bloody beef—but my own
chicken heart has birthed it, too fool
to secure the sharp blade fully in my palm

and now the dilemma of cleaning
with a dripping thumb on white
linoleum, beside the crusts of dirt
released from spring’s young shoes.

What of the long matchsticks
in the pickling crock? Shall I hold one
to my uncombed hair this morning?
The sun leaches through the kitchen
window that overlooks not the sea,

a backyard of suckling plants
scattered with children’s toys,
egg shells, a mossy bird bath
that I’ve been meaning to scrub,
refill. By the time this cup

has gathered full the weepings
of my fissured flesh I shall have enough
to paint the wide white of the porch,
enough to spell impatience, maybe

silence. The yew tree shivers
under my touch as I shiver
under this apron, oh coal,
oh shadow, my darlings,
oh flame.


Alysse Kathleen McCanna was born and raised in the Midwest.  She graduated from Smith College in 2007 and is currently pursuing her low-residency MFA in Writing and Literature at Bennington College in Vermont.  Alysse’s poetry has appeared in The Olentangy Review, Southwestern American Literature, Pilgrimage, The Comstock Review, and other journals.


Filed under: Poetry