Totem and Taboo

—for Sylvia Plath

Suddenly I realize my mistake—
I married a British murderer

He turned out to be nothing but—
Jack the Ripper incarnate

How could I have been such a—
Stupid American Fulbright fool?

He’s nothing but a killing machine—
Fat haunches and blood on his mind

I married a Mytholmroyd butcher—
The glitter of his cleaver has no mercy

Like some sharp guillotine master—
“How’s this, how’s this, how’s this?”

The look on his Jack the Ripper face—
His hands wiggling thru blood and guts

The rabbit mother and its dead child—
Oozing blind-eyed flayed of fur

My so-called loving tender husband—
The man I worshipped as a poet

Having an orgasm in the kitchen—
His fingers masturbating in the gore

I threw him out of the house—
Out of Court Green, out of my life

No wonder it didn’t work back at Smith—
He was no more than an Anglo-Saxon thug

His bulging bloodshot barbarian eyes—
His sharp wolf’s teeth, his grinning grimace

How long would it be until he aborted me—
Strangled me to death out there on the moors?

Hissing in my ear like a counterfeit cobra—
“How’s this, how’s this, how’s this?”

Will I be appalled at the last moment—
Will it be out on the beach or in an oven?

The loneliness of a wolf and a panther—
Him doing in the Little Red Riding Hood bitch

So much for the dumb naïve Mademoiselle—
The pushy know-it-all Fulbright Cambridge cunt

I asked for it without knowing the risk—
Caught up with the notion that it was a trick

All I had to do was fill my pockets with wishes—
But the truth was much more awful than that

I got raped in the end by a handsome monster—
Moody, moping, sauntering out of the moors

So much for my stylish Doris Day bouffant—
My tacky thesaurus, my purse, folding mirror

I got roped in at the end in nets of lies—
Caught up in a web of Yeatsian nightmares

What slouched to London that night—
During the Boxer Storm to gas me to death?

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