Keeping all metaphysical and internal transformation of the spirit at bay, her thirst for mythic aspirations drowned in waves that beam from chaotic to cathartic, Sylvia gazes once more into the abyss, satisfied it won’t look back at her. Nothing to see here, folks.

Flick. The visions are an invited distraction from tulips on fire and the godless empty sky above; the clamour deafening out the old brag of the heart.

‘Bitch,’ he called her. A five-letter word, so poetic. Her face has no need to move; the canned laughter says it all for her. ‘You’re blind, baby’ He said. More laughter. Forced.

Flick. Her fingers, so remote from her own sphere, she forgets what they did before she held him, what her eyes saw before the world dropped dead, even what occupied her brain before he washed it all away.

Where are all these other fishes in the sea they speak of? Outside, all she can see are ‘real men’ scuttling under the floorboards, like cockroaches. The men all pause. For Sylvia, there will be no fade out into the indifference of a new, final and certainly not middle age.

Flick. 2, 7, 5, 4, 8… she watches. She misses nothing. She turns. It all adds up to zero. The silence of silence ringing too loud in her head.

Advert break. The city hangs outside her window, flat as a poster, glittering and blinking. The locked red door of the kitchen. It’s getting hot in here. Easier and easier to breathe.

‘Whatever may lie on the other side,’ she wonders solemnly. ‘It has to be better than watching Will.i.Am mangle one more word.’

For Sylvia Plath. By Shihab S Joi
Carlton Douglas Ridenhour/ William Jonathan Drayton/ Richard DuaneGriffin/James Henry Boxley III/ Eric T Sadler

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