© 2023 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Poem: Sylvia’s Hives

Sylvia Plath

The husband is a frozen wing of a bird,
flesh and feather yarned to bone.
They are bones, painted rooms, and shallow
pools bodies make when they exhaust everything.

The wife manages the shepherd's pie, jarred honey
extracted from her own swarming hives, where her
bees stung him on time in the face as she curled
herself on the bed nursing her newborn son.

The minutes are honey drips from the cedar closet's
spoon, wet wood from a toddler's lick. The zoo visit
just in time for the lion's blood feeding on white rabbits,
and she can not curry once more the throbbing

thunder pains of him as he found the skin and fur
of another woman so sleek and warm, too warm to resist.
She can see how he'd burrow beneath the woman's wet heat.
She can see his heaving chest catching its breath.

She craves to taste dirt, feel the drenched wool pull
of her womb with whispering life, but in the end she
hates typing his pages, this burnt-colored neck,
his words and more words barking from three heads.

She dies with a towel wrapped tightly, vapors and mist,
eyelashes over ether. The cool laundry list folded away.
Pink sheets of paper. Babies sleeping, heavy as their names.

Milwaukee poet, writer, and teacher Jenny Benjamin is the author of the novel, This Most Amazing.

Jenny Benjamin is an award-winning poet and novelist. Over 30 of her poems have appeared in journals, including DIAGRAM, South Carolina Review, Fulcrum, Baltimore Review, Chelsea, and the Crab Orchard Review. Her first novel, This Most Amazing, was published in 2013 by Armida Books in Nicosia, Cyprus. Her poetry chapbook, More Than a Box of Crayons, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.