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By Diane Seuss

Some women make a pilgrimage to visit it
in the Indiana library charged to keep it safe.

I didn’t drive to it; I dreamed it, the thick braid
roped over my hands, heavier than lead.

My own hair was long for years.
Then I became obsessed with chopping it off,

and I did, clear up to my ears. If hair is beauty
then I am no longer beautiful.

Sylvia was beautiful, wasn’t she?
And like all of us, didn’t she wield her beauty

like a weapon? And then she married,
and laid it down, and when she was betrayed

and took it up again it was a word-weapon,
a poem-sword. In the dream I fasten

her braid to my own hair, at my nape.
I walk outside with it, through the world

of men, swinging it behind me like a tail.

Diane Seuss, "Self-Portrait with Sylvia Plath’s Braid" from Poem-a-Day: May 25, 2015.  Copyright © 2015 by Diane Seuss.  Reprinted by permission of The Academy of American Poets.

Source:  Poem-a-Day: May 25, 2015 (The Academy of American Poets,, 2015)

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Poet Bio

Diane Seuss
Diane Seuss was born in Indiana and raised in Michigan. Diane Seuss’s most recent collection is frank: sonnets. Her next book is Modern Poetry. She was the MacLean Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of English at Colorado College in 2012, and she has taught at Kalamazoo College since 1988. Seuss earned a BA from Kalamazoo College and an MSW from Western Michigan University. See More By This Poet

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