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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