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In The Deep Museum

Written by: Anne Sexton | Biography
 | Quotes (127) |
 My God, my God, what queer corner am I in? 
Didn't I die, blood running down the post, 
lungs gagging for air, die there for the sin 
of anyone, my sour mouth giving up the ghost? 
Surely my body is done? Surely I died? 
And yet, I know, I'm here. What place is this? 
Cold and queer, I sting with life. I lied. 
Yes, I lied. Or else in some damned cowardice 
my body would not give me up. I touch 
fine cloth with my hand and my cheeks are cold. 
If this is hell, then hell could not be much, 
neither as special or as ugly as I was told. 
What's that I hear, snuffling and pawing its way 
toward me? Its tongue knocks a pebble out of place 
as it slides in, a sovereign. How can I pray> 
It is panting; it is an odor with a face 
like the skin of a donkey. It laps my sores. 
It is hurt, I think, as a I touch its little head. 
It bleeds. I have forgiven murderers and whores 
and now must wait like old Jonah, not dead 
nor alive, stroking a clumsy animal. A rat. 
His teeth test me; he waits like a good cook, 
knowing his own ground. I forgive him that, 
as I forgave my Judas the money he took. 
Now I hold his soft red sore to my lips 
as his brothers crowd in, hairy angels who take 
my gift. My ankles are a flute. I lose hips 
and wrists. For three days, for love's sake, 
I bless this other death. Oh, not in air -- 
in dirt. Under the rotting veins of its roots, 
under the markets, under the sheep bed where 
the hill is food, under the slippery fruits 
of the vineyard, I go. Unto the bellies and jaws 
of rats I commit my prophecy and fear. 
Far below The Cross, I correct its flaws. 
We have kept the miracle. I will not be here.