Love me back—and if you can’t, then say so, and let me go with whatever peace I can salvage.

Assia Wevill, “Ted Hughes, March 1968,”

She did not sign the letter but, at the bottom of the page she drew a dying bird, with outspread wings,

                                                                                                                            looking like a woman who had jumped from a roof and was flattened on the ground.

Yehuda Koren & Eilat Negev, from A Lover of Unreason

I am loveless without you. I am loveless in beauty and breath; the midnight perfume of flowers—

                                                                                                                                  blood on blood, with roses and more roses,

                                                                                                                                  eating the red / heart, whole.

. . . A sweetness in your absence / remnants of romance; tulips and their terrors.

                                       —Without you, love, my love,

                                                               a blood-longing remains.

. . .

I am flowerlike.

I am alone in my claret silks.

. . .

I dance myself rose-struck. I dance for hours, inside the suicidal-red,

I dance—

                                                                                      with blood,

                                                                                      with a kiss / my love-scar—                                                                                                                               my love, inside a locket.

And roses, the heart’s last gouts,

Catastrophic, arterial, doomed.

Ted Hughes, from Birthday Letters; “Red,”

for K. D.

A red rose, pressed with perfume of blood / love . . .

                                                          Roses that drip from my body to your body, my love, my love,

As deep as the dark—

                                                                                                                                                                    your blood to my blood, 

                  again, and again as blood-kisses.

                                                                                                                                                                    I see the suicidal red—

                                                                                                                                                                    and I see love.

Effy Winter is a writer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (2019) and Sylvia (2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Rust & MothSoft CartelThe Charles River Journal, and elsewhere. Effy was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018. She works for Witch Way Magazine and resides in Kansas City, Missouri, where she is presently writing her biography of Sylvia Plath.

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