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The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator's Wife

Siobhan Harvey


The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator's Wife

Siobhan Harvey


The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator's Wife

The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator’s Wife

after Anne Sexton

Quaking
like rockets
about to launch,
the bed and he
are wedded;
though aching to shrill,
I must keep still.

Mustn’t let on
I feel his earth shake.
Mustn’t wonder why
he chooses another body
(his own) over mine; nor why
I allow him his fill.
I must keep still.

And so, we both worship
onanism, and are joined
by this almost-adultery.
The dark,
into which he opens up
and I shun, tests the will.
I must keep still.

But fume away
secretly, an undiscovered fire
patient for its spark,
when only silence
knows my answers or how
broken and alone I am until
I stem my need to keep still.


'The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator's Wife', from Lost Relatives (Steele Roberts, New Zealand, 2011), © Siobhan Harvey 2011, used by permission of the author. Poet’s private recording 2011.

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