The year Anne Sexton
sat in her red Cougar
with a glass of vodka
behind the closed doors
of her garage and drifted off
to its purring lullaby
in her mother’s fur coat.

The year I read Emily Dickinson:
‘This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First – Chill – then Stupor – then, the letting go –’

‘What do you do?’
a man asked me at a party.
‘What do you do in the afternoons?’

I was thirty-one:
the same age as Plath
when she turned on the gas.

‘I’m a poet!’ I lied
jolting myself to life:
a woman buried under ice
with words burning inside.

I Want! I Want! by Vicki Feaver

From I Want! I Want!. Shortlisted for Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020. Reproduced with kind permission from Jonathan Cape.

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