When Anne Sexton makes enough money selling Beauty Counselor Cosmetics door-to-door,
she buys James Wright's The Green Wall, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Series for 1957.
It's a pretty good deal for all those afternoons walking across the transom
into a stranger's home, moving from the fresh-cut lawn's perfect green
to the housewife's fenced-in field of a heart, toughened, yes,
but still alive, and more aware, you can tell, because the new lipstick
brightens your mouth into an Oh. Every she who dwells in the suburban kingdom
knows the bedtime story of the prince who loved you, just that once,
among the glades, within the grove, beneath the tree's tiresome
ripening fruit, the disinterested doves lamenting what they know.
His love-from-a-distance-glance, his nervous-tender-glory,
I saw you and I had to know you, dark eyes,
the handsome hand tightening on your bouquet of pinks,
of whatever you've got hidden up there, and whatever it is,
it really gets in the way.
Anne's black patent leather sample case on her arm
is shell pink on the inside, a promising pink,
lighter than the pink of a mouth, much less pink than the womb,
that impure, luxurious vessel, that cave of causes,
that pink trapdoor, frilly as a corsage.
But you have to look closer, American poetry.
The tightly wrapped, butcher-strung housewife heart
sends out her wild response anyway, and what comes of it
is worth your time. When the dove flies off, there's all that wingwork,
whistling. Sexton and Wright, sometime in the future,
will dance in a kitchen, giddy with love,
whitish hands covered in cookie flour, kissing to Sibelius,
also happily ever after, also once upon a time.