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The Gold Key

 The speaker in this case
is a middle-aged witch, me-
tangled on my two great arms,
my face in a book
and my mouth wide,
ready to tell you a story or two.
I have come to remind you, all of you: Alice, Samuel, Kurt, Eleanor, Jane, Brian, Maryel, all of you draw near.
Alice, at fifty-six do you remember? Do you remember when you were read to as a child? Samuel, at twenty-two have you forgotten? Forgotten the ten P.
dreams where the wicked king went up in smoke? Are you comatose? Are you undersea? Attention, my dears, let me present to you this boy.
He is sixteen and he wants some answers.
He is each of us.
I mean you.
I mean me.
It is not enough to read Hesse and drink clam chowder we must have the answers.
The boy has found a gold key and he is looking for what it will open.
This boy! Upon finding a string he would look for a harp.
Therefore he holds the key tightly.
Its secrets whimper like a dog in heat.
He turns the key.
Presto! It opens this book of odd tales which transform the Brothers Grimm.
Transform? As if an enlarged paper clip could be a piece of sculpture.
(And it could.

by Anne Sexton
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