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The Fury of Beautiful Bones by Anne Sexton

The Fury of Beautiful Bones

by Anne Sexton

(from The Complete Poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1982)

Sing me a thrush, bone.

Sing me a nest of cup and pestle.

Sing me a sweetbread from an old grandfather.

Sing me a foot and a doorknob, for you are my love.

Oh sing, bone bag man, sing.

Your head is what I remember that August

you were in love with another woman but

that didn't matter. I was the fury of your

bones, your fingers long and nubby, your

forehead a beacon, bare as marble and I worried

you like an odor because you had not quite forgotten,

bone bag man, garlic in the North End,

the book you dedicated, naked as a fish,

naked as someone drowning into his own mouth.

I wonder, Mr. Bone man, what you're thinking

of your fury now, gone sour as a sinking whale,

crawling up the alphabet on her own bones.

Am I in your ear still singing songs in the rain,

me of the death rattle, me of the magnolias,

me of the sawdust tavern at the city's edge.

Women have lovely bones, arms, neck, thigh

and I admire them also, but your bones

supersede loveliness. They are the tough

ones that get broken and reset. I just can't

answer for you, only for your bones,

round rulers, round nudgers, round poles,

numb nubkins, the sword of sugar.

I feel the skull, Mr. Skeleton, living its

own life in its own skin.

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