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Sleeping Beauty, again for Anne Sexton by Alan Bern

Sleeping Beauty, again

for Anne Sexton

How to kill yourself this time

You kept wondering in your Thorazine haze

Now after fifty years my once professoressa

I am still afraid to write this

You were my sad mother too

Same age as Mom

While you were remaking Grimm

Mom toured China’s bright new communisms

But I did want to put my hand there

Your small shapely breasts like my mother’s

Your thin hairless thighs

And we could have

Though you didn’t like my poems

And I wasn’t sure about yours

Mom smoked one Kent

Each week lipstick circles and you

Smoking more and more

Long fingers slender around the cigarettes

Still it was you I adopted

Though you had little interest

Pondering Sleeping Beauty again

For another hundred years


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