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The Breast

 This is the key to it.
This is the key to everything.
I am worse than the gamekeeper's children picking for dust and bread.
Here I am drumming up perfume.
Let me go down on your carpet, your straw mattress -- whatever's at hand because the child in me is dying, dying.
It is not that I am cattle to be eaten.
It is not that I am some sort of street.
But your hands found me like an architect.
Jugful of milk! It was yours years ago when I lived in the valley of my bones, bones dumb in the swamp.
Little playthings.
A xylophone maybe with skin stretched over it awkwardly.
Only later did it become something real.
Later I measured my size against movie stars.
I didn't measure up.
Something between my shoulders was there.
But never enough.
Sure, there was a meadow, but no yound men singing the truth.
Nothing to tell truth by.
Ignorant of men I lay next to my sisters and rising out of the ashes I cried my sex will be transfixed! Now I am your mother, your daughter, your brand new thing -- a snail, a nest.
I am alive when your fingers are.
I wear silk -- the cover to uncover -- because silk is what I want you to think of.
But I dislike the cloth.
It is too stern.
So tell me anything but track me like a climber for here is the eye, here is the jewel, here is the excitement the nipple learns.
I am unbalanced -- but I am not mad with snow.
I am mad the way young girls are mad, with an offering, an offering.
I burn the way money burns.

by Anne Sexton
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