Between classes I haunted vault of the
University of Calgary archives where I
worked as a grad student.
I lingered, always, by the first editions
of Plath and Sexton.
Like a good luck charm I’d run my finger
along the tip of a badger’s whisker
that Ted Hughes taped into a hand-stitched
chapbook shelved next to an early edition of
One day I will run my fingers along the marbled spine
of the box at the Lily Library
that contains Sylvia’s hair
shorn in childhood,
hair that never felt Ted’s brute fingers.
if Ted plucked those whiskers from a badger in the wild,
its thick musk heavy like Sylvia’s memory.
Ted couldn’t touch a woman without cowering
into his study,
never mind a wild animal.
He always did like to pluck bits and pieces
from the dead as they lay helpless.