“The Carbon Monoxide Gas” by Kim Bridgford

Kim Bridgford


for Anne Sexton

That’s who I was, but I wanted to be
The big fur coat that belonged to her mother.
I wanted to be the music she was listening to
On the radio in the car. No one wants to be invisible,
The gas so subtle people forget you’re there.
What is it like to be sky, a shimmering cobalt
With room for airplanes and the sun?
Sometimes, in old houses, when there is
A problem with the gas, I end up being
The long wet hand smothering children
In their beds. I don’t want to do it.
But someone needs to be the caution
For parents losing control, rubbing their faces
In their own dread. Let me be the drama queen.
Let me put on dark red lipstick and kiss you
One last time and leave a mark before it’s over.

from Rattle #61, Fall 2018


Kim Bridgford: “No matter where I started when I wrote my recent book about suicide, the subject brought me to regret. Even the means of death, such as Sylvia Plath’s London apartment oven, stopped me. To move forward, and have the children on the other side of the door: how much that took! At the same time, Sylvia Plath, born the same year as my father, has served as a poetic role model for me, as has Anne Sexton. This dichotomy—regret, on the one hand, and admiration, on the other—has been a fundamental part of my poetic education. All these years later my vision is still informed by it, not only in my own writing, but in my projects such as Mezzo Cammin, the formalist journal by women, and the Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, whose goal is to include an essay on every woman poet who has ever lived.” (web)

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