* Burning * blackout poetry from Witch Burning by Sylvia Plath

Witch Burning

In the marketplace they are piling the dry sticks.
A thicket of shadows is a poor coat. I inhabit
The wax image of myself, a doll‘s body.
Sickness begins here: I am the dartboard for witches.
Only the devil 
can eat the devil out.
In the month of 
red leaves I climb to a bed of fire.

It is easy to blame the dark: the mouth of a door,
The cellar’s belly. They’ve blown my sparkler out.
A black-sharded lady keeps me in parrot cage.
What large eyes 
the dead have!
I am intimate with a hairy 
spirit.
Smoke wheels from the beak of this empty jar.

If I am a little one, I 
can do no harm.
If I don’t move about, I’ll knock nothing over. So I said,
Sitting under a potlid, tiny and inert as a rice grain.
They are turning the burners up, ring after ring.
We are full of starch, my small white fellows. We grow.
It hurts at first. The red tongues will teach the truth.

Mother of beetles, only unclench your hand:
I’ll
 fly through the candle’s mouth like a singeless moth.
Give me back my shape. I am ready to construe the days
I coupled with dust in the shadow of a stone.
My ankles brighten. 
Brightness ascends my thighs.
I am lost, 
I am lost, in the robes of all this light.

(rediscovered, work from March 2021)

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