“Admonitions To A Special Person”
by Anne Sexton
(The Paris Review, Issue 71)
Watch out for power
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.
Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you’ll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.
Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.
Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
Watch out for games, the actor’s part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for it will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.
Watch out for love,
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes,)
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won’t be heard
and none of your running will run.
Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can’t be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
if I were you I’d pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted on leaves and know you’ll root
and the real green thing will come.
Let go. Let go.
O special person,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.
March 24, 1974