The Ambition Bird

Anne Sexton

The Ambition BirdSo it has come to this

insomnia at 3:15 A.M.,

the clock tolling its engine
.
like a frog following

a sundial yet having an electric

seizure at the quarter hour.
.
The business of words keeps me awake.

I am drinking cocoa,

that warm brown mama.
.
I would like a simple life

yet all night I am laying

poems away in a long box.
.
It is my immortality box,

my lay-away plan,

my coffin.
.
All night dark wings

flopping in my heart.

Each an ambition bird.
.
The bird wants to be dropped

from a high place like Tallahatchie Bridge.
.
He wants to light a kitchen match

and immolate himself.
.
He wants to fly into the hand of Michelangelo

anc dome out painted on a ceiling.
.
He wants to pierce the hornet’s nest

and come out with a long godhead.
.
He wants to take bread and wine

and bring forth a man happily floating in the Caribbean.
.

He wants to be pressed out like a key

so he can unlock the Magi.
.
He wants to take leave among strangers

passing out bits of his heart like hors d’oeuvres.
.
He wants to die changing his clothes

and bolt for the sun like a diamond.
.
He wants, I want.

Dear God, wouldn’t it be

good enough to just drink cocoa?
.
I must get a new bird

and a new immortality box.

There is folly enough inside this one.
.
We’ll be reading and discussing Anne Sexton’s poetry on July 27. See the SCHEDULE PAGE for a list of the featured poems.

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