...Not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at...

Trepanned Veteran, Dirty Girl

Yesterday, I was standing in the living room, trying--with my pocket knife--to punch a hole into the bottom of a thick plastic cup that I was holding precariously in my hand. Right when I had the thought "perhaps it's not a good idea to be trying--with your pocket knife--to punch a hole into the bottom of a thick plastic cup that you're precariously holding in your hand; perhaps you should place it on a stable surface instead," my pocket knife folded up into the thick of my fingertip and severed a large flap of flesh. I am cheap and don't buy bandaids or gauzes, so I ended up having to wrap toilet paper around my bloody finger and cinching it with painter's tape. The cut (not my membership into the Club of Stupid Ideas that Result in Injury) reminded me of a Plath poem I used to be fond of back in the day. So I share.


What a thrill -
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian's axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz. A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they one?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to kill

The thin
Papery feeling.
Kamikaze man -

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux Klan
Darkens and tarnishes and when
The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump -
Trepanned veteran,
Dirty girl,
Thumb stump.

-Sylvia Plath



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