Sylvia Plath as an Old Story Title for Learning to Fight Depression Where the Semiotics Simply Suggest That a Garden Illustrates Peace as a Foreshadow Rather Than as a Vivid Depiction of an Ancestral Society of Sad Mothers & Helpless Fathers by Nome Emeka Patrick
Tell it this way: depression is the 30cm nail driving into the walls.
If you ever read about Plath, ever kept a lantern from dying,
ever tended a garden it grew so wild to swallow god, ever kept
dressing the fire in your bones, then you must know about grief,
possibly how to end it. Maami once stood in this garden. Now,
I stand in her shadow like a sphinx in a crusade of an inferno.
In Lagos, another news says a student of microbiology, 400L, took
a nook’s way to the sky, death could not stop for him—anymore.
Let’s agree: failure is the arm swinging the pendulum across the face
of every dream. These gardens grow wild & the birds unfurl their
wings into an offering of flight. My cousin knelt in this garden once.
I kowtow into his absence, my knees—eyes dressed in dust & dearth.
In my mouth, every name glistens with a beak. I owe every wall
a shadow, every bed a midnight of creaks & crimson, every heart
an arrhythmia twice the speed of a destrier. In the library, my finger
Canterburies through The Selected Poems of Sylvia Plath, for once in
my whole life, I recite “Lady Lazarus” & remember I have a father
growing in the garden. Do I terrify?—what fear sweeps this little life?
Tainted black & bruised, a chorus lifts itself onto my mouth’s blade:
dy—dying is an art, so just like everything else I do it exceptionally well, yelz
yet even with honey disguised in holocaust, who, tell me, wants to die this young?
© 2020 Nome Emeka Patrick. Today’s poem originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of Poetry.
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