I Am Vertical

But I would rather be horizontal.

I am not a tree with my root in the soil

Sucking up minerals and motherly love

So that each March I may gleam into leaf,

Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed

Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,

Unknowing I must soon unpetal.

Compared with me, a tree is immortal

And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,

And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.

– Sylvia Plath

I have never considered poetry one of my strong points, but it is a style of writing I strongly admire – especially when it comes to Sylvia and her beautiful, twisted words. I enjoy the quickness of poetry, and the opportunity to churn out a few abstract thoughts that could be interpreted in any number of ways.

Recently, a poem of mine was accepted into my college’s literary magazine. Am I ecstatic? Yes. Was I afraid of what my mother would say about the subject matter of my first published work? Absolutely.


A woman in wrinkled slacks

shoved a pamphlet into

your velvet palm

and we stared into pages

of burning flesh

as you told me of your first kiss,

four breasts embracing,

four lips parting

then meeting,

one on top of the other

like pillows stacked high.

I laughed as you ripped it up,

a strange confetti that

caught in my hair

and ignited

as you pressed your lips

against my neck,

just below the ear,

right above the curiosity.

Sylvia’s flare? No way. But I gave my best attempt at capturing many moments in one; roping a whole series of events into about 30 seconds; speaking of limitless love and acceptance of one’s self and others around them. To me, poetry has the ability to cross boundaries in a way that the short story or novel cannot. It is a bit more challenging, like flash fiction; taking a story that may span months or years and getting it’s point across in five or ten lines.

To all the amazing poets that have mastered this (Sylvia included): I salute you.

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