“Do you like me?”
I asked the blue blazer.
No answer.
Silence bounced out of his books.
Silence fell off his tongue
and sat between us
and clogged my throat.
It slaughtered my trust.
It tore cigarettes out of my mouth.
We exchanged blind words,
and I did not cry,
and I did not beg,
blackness lunged in my heart,
and something that had been good,
a sort of kindly oxygen,
turned into a gas oven.
Do you like me?
How absurd!
What’s a question like that?
What’s a silence like that?
And what am I hanging around for,
riddled with what his silence said?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem Lessons In Hunger


  1. K. Mark says:

    This is how I feel about psychiatry. We “fall” for our doctors because they listen to us and we have good rapport, but we never can ask anything personal. We never can know them. Part of what we respect about them is the distance they keep between us and their professionalism, but to invest so much in someone who is just doing their job is painful and humiliating.

  2. C.I. Oommen says:

    “Silence fell off his tongue and sat between us”- It is
    indeed a strange experience,a rare poetic encounter with silence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by Anne Sexton better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.