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Anne Sexton - You, Doctor Martin

You, Doctor Martin, walk
from breakfast to madness. Late August,
I speed through the antiseptic tunnel
where the moving dead still talk
of pushing their bones against the thrust
of cure. And I am queen of this summer hotel
or the laughing bee on a stalk

of death. We stand in broken
lines and wait while they unlock
the doors and count us at the frozen gates
of dinner. The shibboleth is spoken
and we move to gravy in our smock
of smiles. We chew in rows, our plates
scratch and whine like chalk

in school. There are no knives
for cutting your throat. I make
moccasins all morning. At first my hands
kept empty, unraveled for the lives
they used to work. Now I learn to take
them back, each angry finger that demands
I mend what another will break

tomorrow. Of course, I love you;
you lean above the plastic sky,
god of our block, prince of all the foxes.
The breaking crowns are new
that Jack wore.
Your third eye
moves among us and lights the separate boxes
where we sleep or cry.

What large children we are
here. All over I grow most tall
in the best ward. Your business is people,
you call at the madhouse, an oracular
eye in our nest. Out in the hall
the intercom pages you. You twist in the pull
of the foxy children who fall

like floods of life in frost.
And we are magic talking to itself,
noisy and alone. I am queen of all my sins
forgotten. Am I still lost?
Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself,
counting this row and that row of moccasins
waiting on the silent shelf.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 6945 times | Comments and analysis of You, Doctor Martin by Anne Sexton Comments (2)

You, Doctor Martin - Comments and Information

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: You, Doctor Martin

Comment 2 of 2, added on October 2nd, 2005 at 12:22 PM.

For anyone who has spent time in a mental hospital "You, Doctor Martin" is incredibly accurate and reminiscent. Sexton captures with perfect eloquence the eery quiet of a night in the hospital. She describes precisely the lugubrious bed checks and meal routines and absolutely secures the overall elegiac atmosphere of the place.

Mary from United States
Comment 1 of 2, added on September 13th, 2005 at 3:18 PM.

it's all there.

misterpoet

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