Defensive Poem of Sylvia Plath Being the Promethean of Self-Destruction

My mentee’s mother galumphs into my office, condemns me

to Golgotha for teaching her daughter how to commit suicide.

On reading Lady Lazarus from her daughter’s archive, she concludes

that Sylvia Plath is the promethean of self-destruction, and this art

of anchoring life to the shore, in the midst of turbulence advances

more than ever. Contemporary poets, she says, always have a ghost

character or a demon in their poems, craving for their body.

So every night, she steals into her daughter’s room, peruse her diary –

every drafts – for her farewell poems, if she’d written any, as though she’d

attempted tasting rat poison at ten. What if she’d decided to whisk without

a quit notice, does she know? – grief poems do not always prelude

self-destruction. Sometimes, it’s a short note on a disarmed soldier,

about durable struggles, about nightmares after nightmares.

I have many times forgotten the purpose of life before the mouth of a river

or moving train, if there’s a creator or a lover who needs me more than

I need myself. If the world is perfect and life is the colour of the sun,

would there be a surrender? Looking at her, I understand motherhood comes

with too many anxieties, too many fears. I too have fears.

After such fears sometimes, a longing for nightshade persists.

To those who knew my childhood, it’s impossible for me to die a natural death.

The truth is: I’ve touched suicide’s back to the ground thrice more than my kitten’s.

The first time, I was yet a poet. Right now – I’m wondering if this woman

acknowledges giving up stupid struggle is not poets’ thing, if she understands

there’s something amiss in the way life transacts with some of us.

What are you looking for?