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by Sylvia Plath, October 24, 1962


for Susan O’Neill Roe

  What a thrill—
  My thumb instead of an onion.
  The top quite gone
  Except for a sort of hinge
5 Of skin,
  A flap like a hat,
  Dead white.
  Then that red plush.
  Little pilgrim,
10 The Indian's axed your scalp.
  Your turkey wattle
  Carpet rolls
  Straight from the heart.
  I step on it,
15 Clutching my bottle
  Of pink fizz.


  A celebration, this is.
  Out of a gap
  A million soldiers run,
20 Redcoats, every one.
  Whose side are they on?
  O my
  Homunculus, I am ill.
  I have taken a pill to kill
25 The thin
  Papery feeling.
  Kamikaze man—
  The stain on your
30 Gauze Ku Klux Klan
  Darkens and tarnishes and when
  The balled
  Pulp of your heart
35 Confronts its small
  Mill of silence
  How you jump—
  Trepanned veteran,
  Dirty girl,
40 Thumb stump.