45 Mercy Street
In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign -
namely MERCY STREET.
I try the Back Bay.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant's teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was...
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
with the stranger's seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.
I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
Pull the shades down -
I don't care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?
I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
and its hauled up
Anne Sexton's Other Poems
Read this poem in other languages
This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.
Comments about this poem (45 Mercy Street by Anne Sexton )
Did you read them?
- because we're both globe-trotters, Mandolyn ...
- Interior Constraint, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
- Silent voice, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
- The Gentlemen For Me, Poetic Lilly Emery
- The eyes of the stars is the eyes of Sta.., Raymond Sawyer
- Let's Live in Peace, Tirupathi Chandrupatla
- I Dry My Tears, Poetic Lilly Emery
- Valley of an autumn's night, Raluca Mitra
- The stars that touch a rose is the star.., Raymond Sawyer
- *Halloween Stroll, Alice Vedral Rivera
Poem of the Day
- Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
- Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
- If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
- Dreams, Langston Hughes
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
- The Young Housewife, William Carlos Williams
- Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
- The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1927)
- Heather Burns
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(27 October 1914 – 9 November 1953)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)