sylvia plath’s ghost in the howard street bathroom

Abigail Gray

the bulb flickered
above the tub and
there she was; glory
in a shadow behind stained
floral shower curtains

she approached to hold me and
i let her; mist swirling against
my stomach, clutching
the porcelain bowl of
the sink to steady
my grasp on consciousness

i knew she’d be here to collect
my debt to her presence, wet fingers
hovering over my shaking wrist
and asked if i kept
my end of the agreement

“do you write for the hungry?
the poor?
the suffering?”

“I only know my own suffering,”
i replied, her grip on
my chest unbearable as
she leaned me back against her,
to watch my reflection
in the smudged mirror

“Then why bother?”
her echo of disappointment
shattered against the tile walls
of the master bath
where i locked away my body.

“No point in screaming
if not for a purpose,”
her teeth pressed against
the curves of my spine,
eyes slipping over
my skull as she watched my
legs begin to shake,
until a pounding
against the door brought me
back to her.

“I don’t think you’re
ready yet,”
she gripped me closer and
i felt the cold seep
through my clothes.

“Let me show you
what it means to be
a poet.”
and then i was falling,
head tilted back
as my body flooded
the acrylic tub,
and she took me with her
down the slimy,
hair-clogged drain.



Abigail Gray is a senior Professional Writing major at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont, but currently slinks through the marshes near their childhood home in New Hampshire. Most of Abigail’s writing centers around nature, gender, sobriety/addiction and mental health. They have been published in Willard & Maple, Good Life Literar, and Poet’s Choice. Like other writers, they are creating a poetry collection that hopes to finds a home soon.