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Anne Sexton - The Breast

This is the key to it.
This is the key to everything.
Preciously.

I am worse than the gamekeeper's children
picking for dust and bread.
Here I am drumming up perfume.

Let me go down on your carpet,
your straw mattress -- whatever's at hand
because the child in me is dying, dying.

It is not that I am cattle to be eaten.
It is not that I am some sort of street.
But your hands found me like an architect.

Jugful of milk! It was yours years ago
when I lived in the valley of my bones,
bones dumb in the swamp. Little playthings.

A xylophone maybe with skin
stretched over it awkwardly.
Only later did it become something real.

Later I measured my size against movie stars.
I didn't measure up. Something between
my shoulders was there. But never enough.

Sure, there was a meadow,
but no yound men singing the truth.
Nothing to tell truth by.

Ignorant of men I lay next to my sisters
and rising out of the ashes I cried
my sex will be transfixed!

Now I am your mother, your daughter, your brand new thing -- a snail, a nest.
I am alive when your fingers are.

I wear silk -- the cover to uncover --
because silk is what I want you to think of.
But I dislike the cloth. It is too stern.

So tell me anything but track me like a climber
for here is the eye, here is the jewel,
here is the excitement the nipple learns.

I am unbalanced -- but I am not mad with snow.
I am mad the way young girls are mad,
with an offering, an offering...

I burn the way money burns.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 601 times | Comments and analysis of The Breast by Anne Sexton Comments (2)

The Breast - Comments and Information

Poet: Anne Sexton
Poem: The Breast
Poem of the Day: Jul 7 2005

Comment 2 of 2, added on February 17th, 2009 at 2:49 PM.

I love Anne's honest brutality, sensual imagery, and understanding to put inot words! They key to it and Everything...who would have thought of the breast? An object of nurture and sensuality. Men can be entranced by a pair of tata's! i like her verse " but your hands found me like an architect" you can't help but give the girl credit regaurdless of what your personal opinion is...the woman is brilliant!

Heather from United States
Comment 1 of 2, added on February 13th, 2008 at 10:38 PM.

that last line has always been my favorite.

Anna from United States

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