Fifty years ago today, Sylvia Plath took her own life. She went on to great success as a poet, a figure of feminism, and a pop culture icon. Her suicide often overshadows her work, which is unfortunate. I spent a lot of 2012 reading all of her poems as research for my second poetry manuscript that I'm currently editing. In honor of her, I'm posting one of my poems from that manuscript titled "Us Gays Call You Auntie Sylvia." Enjoy.
Us Gays Call You Auntie Sylvia
Because any straight woman with man troubles is our best friend.
Dead or alive. In fact, dead can often be better,
less trouble. Though we know very little of your sorrow.
Most of us will never find a man as hard to love as Ted Hughes,
nor will most of us care if the man we love fucks
another as long as he tells us all about it in bed, side by side.
Oh Auntie Sylvia, you really were a drama queen. I’ve learned
a thing or two about how to hate someone
as beautifully and startlingly as you did.
All the books on you always mention how 1963 was one
of the coldest winters on record as if you killed
yourself to get warm, which really would put a strange twist
on your biography. I turn thirty this year. The same age you
were that winter you sealed your children
in a room and stuck your head in the oven.
Ending it all at thirty seems a little scary. A little over the top.
I’ve had my own drama. I’ve shouted in public.
I’ve tossed an elbow here and there. I’ve drank too much.
I’ve acted the fool. I’ve been jealous and paranoid. The thing
is everyone loves to read about insanity,
but few are willing to witness it or put up with it.
Maybe this is our special bond. You lived your own crazy.
Never apologized. Oh Auntie, I don’t really want
to understand you, but let’s pretend, for just a bit,
that your oven is my oven. Your troubles, my troubles.