The Napowrimo.net prompt for Day 29 is to ‘write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. Simply pick a poem from the calendar, and then write a poem that responds or engages with your chosen Plath poem in some way.’ I chose to work with ‘The Rabbit Catcher’. I applied the approach from the Day 18 prompt, going line by line from the last line of the poem to the first, responding to each line along the way. (Oh, and nobody should be concerned. Yes, things have been difficult, but the first stanza is about my feelings about wearing neckties.)
The Sea of Melancholy
The fabric knotted around my neck,
a vice clamped shut,
nausea bubbles up from deep;
in my head I hear ‘Breathe! Breathe! Breathe!’
punctuated by the guttural amplified scrape
of a plectrum across strings
to tie it all together.
Waiting sweethearts, full of excitement:
walking reminders that I am dying
one breath at a time.
I’ve never cared about china,
and my favorite mug fell to pieces on the floor.
I don’t have time for any of that now.
The creek is quiet this evening,
the night devoid of the usual glow
from street lights and neighboring houses.
This is the emptiness, the collar:
so tight I can make no sound,
so close I have to push it out somehow.
There is nothing here; the day has shut down.
The usual suspects are in hiding.
This is the hollow the paths have led to:
this cauldron buried in the earth,
the only place that seemed safe.
I subject myself to such extravagant torture:
so efficient, so sublime…
I bask in nothing
but that which, in stealth, punctures
malignant, pushing bitter
to the back of my tongue.
A slick spreads across the gulf.
The flames and smoke have yet to reach me,
but I cannot cry out without taking in water.
The wind would hurl my words out to sea anyway,
with such force I’d have no memory
of having said them.
(28 April 2018—posted April 29th)