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The Death Baby


“I was an ice baby.

I turned to sky blue.

My tears became two glass beads.

My mouth stiffened into a dumb howl.

They say it was a dream

but I remember that hardening.


My sister at six

dreamt nightly of my death:

“The baby turned to ice.

Someone put her in the refrigerator

and she turned as hard as a Popsicle.”


I remember the stink of the liverwurst.

How I was put on a platter and laid

between the mayonnaise and the bacon.

The rhythm of the refrigerator

had been disturbed.

The milk bottle hissed like a snake.

The tomatoes vomited up their stomachs.

The caviar turned to lava.

The pimentos kissed like cupids.

I moved like a lobster,

slower and slower.

The air was tiny.

The air would not do.


I was at the dog’s party.

I was their bone.

I had been laid out in their kennel

like a fresh turkey.

This was my sister’s dream

but I remember that quartering:

I remember the sickbed smell

of the sawdust floor, the pink eyes,

the pink tongues and the teeth, those nails.

I had been carried out like Moses

and hidden by the paws

of ten Boston bull terriers,

ten angry bulls

jumping like enormous roaches.

At first I was lapped,

rough as sandpaper.

I became very clean.

Then my arm was missing.

I was coming apart.

They loved me until

I was gone.”

Read by NSmith
Sexton, Anne. “The Death Baby”, The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981.

CT+CR Collective

The Critical Theory and Creative Research Collective is devoted to socio-political critique, including the rethinking and recalibration of unstable, fast-changing relations between machine-generated data and human experience, theory and practice, the possible and the real, time and judgment, process and end-driven behavior. Its members include Anne-Marie Oliver, Barry Sanders, Marie-Pierre Hasne, Joan Handwerg, Nicole Smith, Marshall Astor, Carmen Denison, Peter Falanga, Andre Fortes, Dustin Freemont, Val Hardy, Lauren Heagerty, Hannah Horovitz, Evangelina Owens, Mel Ponis, Kevin Smith, Mohammed Usrof, Brooke Wendt, and Chloé Womack.

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