For Plath, For Love, (Don’t…) and Other Poems

by Mona Dash

The body is no more


From all those years ago
I still remember
fingers and hands, toes and legs
a flatness lying in my arms
eyes shut, cheeks cold

when breath leaves a baby
the body howls, shrivels
into nothingness for days
months years

when breath leaves a parent
life-giver, creator, taken away
body garlanded, shrouded
the body grows a bit older


What can I write about our bodies
supine in bath water, shapes, a shadow
perfumed, candle glow, soap-suds
softening skin?

This body has travelled
mountains, beaches, shores
been more than itself
carried tightly curled foetuses.
passed on its blood memories

You trace it, the thinness of the waist
the thickening of the stomach
You turn it around, we meet
together we are heaven bound

I protest; heaven is not enough
to forget others – lives dreamed not lived
the ones we loved, the ones who left.

When breath leaves the body
it stiffens, a heavy rigidity
the only deliverance, legs spread and bodies emerge
from the primal places we visit, we inhabit.


Your fingers on my face
your hands on my neck
when breath stops for a moment
then flows like brooks babbling through
like blood in the veins and arteries
of the body

You whisper, the sense of the body
is only true when combined, conjoined
You whisper, when the body is no more
this breath we have shared is forever

For Plath, For Love,


let us then recite Plath
let us wear white bikinis and smile
let us sing mad-girl love songs and in its rhymes
search a thunderbird, hold the bird close
dip into its heart, tasting its blood, mine, yours
let us find these Hughes-like men who love
deeply, amorously, thick-honey words
that choke so well, filling us, filling us
with still, deep water, cleansing and drowning,
who twist deep into us, severing
every self-belief, every little hope we have
burning away the mind-body-soul chain
Let us write, write crazily into the night
and let our words howl in the still dawn
and let us then open the oven door
and lay the body in, breathing in purist like
a single strain of air, lying still, lying
while our children are in their beds, dreaming

Author’s Bio:

Mona Dash is an award-winning author of Let us Look ElsewhereA Roll of the DiceUntamed Heart and two poetry collections, A Certain Way and Dawn-drops. Her work has been showcased on BBC Radio 4, included in Best British Short Stories 22, and published in more than thirty-five anthologies. 

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