I dropped my new shoes in the stream, thinking perhaps
They would get there before me, like two drowned Jews
Trundling along the seabed to Jerusalem. My immigrant parents lost patience and thrashed me.
The best thing that ever happened to me was on the boat.
I’ve no idea what it was. Then Tilbury. Or Harwich. Or Southampton.
I got eggshells crushed with lemon juice for the calcium and its better absorption.
I got buttered bread with a little bitter chocolate grated over it.
I got glabrous soured milk with cinnamon and sugar.
I got kohlrabi and celeriac and other nonexistent vegetables,
Like so many chimeras and hippogriffs.
I got Kinderkaffee from malted barley, and Katarzynki from Mr. Continental, but only on Thursdays.
I got vermilion worm medicine, with bitter lemon
That didn’t begin to take away the color or the taste.
The four of us round the table. We all had to do it. It was like a suicide pact.
It was the winter of ’63, the Plath winter. I barked for months.