Womanish by Jo Mazelis

(for Sylvia Plath)

Womanish he said. Sentimental.
Her sprigs of hearts and flowers
reduced to black mush and leaf mold.
A fetid swamp of romance
to be stomped on.

Desperate, others said.
Trying too hard. As if that were a sin.
Is it a sin? The heart’s an empty cup
held up. Fill me.
Womanish. As in sugar and spice
which she tried to drown him in.

But when she scribbled out all beauty
and replaced it with jackboots and daggers
she became the evil one.
Proving once and for all, that poison
bile beneath the painted crib, the sunshine smile
will rise like an oil spill
blinding and choking and killing all.

jo mazelis pic

Jo Mazelis is an award winning novelist, short story writer, poet and photographer who was born in Swansea, where she currently lives. Her first book Diving Girls was shortlisted for Commonwealth Best First Book. Her stories have appeared in many publications and several have been broadcast on Radio Four. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry Wales, Screech Owl and I am not a Silent Poet amongst other places. Her debut novel Significance won The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize in 2015. Her latest book is a collection of short stories, Ritual, 1969.

 

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