A Kaddish for Sylvia Plath

Plath wasn't Jewish,
but if she were
she would have refused to
identify with the denizens
and dead of Auschwitz,
the anus mundi,
the Asshole of
the Entire World.

Yes, it’s true that the
Nazis used
gas on us,

killed us with gas
(Just as Sylvia had
placed her head
in the oven),

like my mother gently
placing a Rosh Hashanah
brisket in the oven to burn.

In the end there's
only dust and ashes
of yesterday's roast
and of a poet pleading
for love and mercy.

The Old Testament is clear
that the Jews
cheated on God
by dancing around their idols,
just as Ted Hughes
cheated on Sylvia
by seeing several other girls;
Assia, Brenda and Carol,
an alphabet of adultery.

To be fair, poet Hughes
is not to blame
for the suicide.
Sylvia's thirty year flirtation
with harm towards the self
betrays a making
of her own,
a death deceit
with her father,
who died too early
and she, too young.

If Plath were Jewish
then tonight,
February 11, 1963
would have been
her yahrzeit,
the anniversary
of her violent passing.

But now the poet
looks down from
her perch above
and she notes
with a singularity
of satisfaction—

her children
have grown up
and unlike her,
or her father,
they have been
allowed to age,
not standing
still in time.

And now
her poems are a part
of everyone's vocabulary
and who knows,
if the poem outlasts
the poet
then perhaps it causes
her lips to smile in the grave?

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