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The Lost Ingredient Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 3

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Almost yesterday, those gentle ladies stole

to their baths in Atlantic Cuty, for the lost

rites of the first sea of the first salt

running from a faucet. I have heard they sat

for hours in briny tubs, patting hotel towels

sweetly over shivered skin, smelling the stale

harbor of a lost ocean, praying at last

for impossible loves, or new skin, or still

another child. And since this was the style,

I don't suppose they knew what they had lost.

Almost yesterday, pushing West, I lost

ten Utah driving minutes, stopped to steal

past postcard vendors, crossed the hot slit

of macadam to touch the marvelous loosed

bobbing of The Salt Lake, to honor and assault

it in its proof, to wash away some slight

need for Maine's coast. Later the funny salt

itched in my pores and stung like bees or sleet.

I rinsed it off on Reno and hurried to steal

a better proof at tables where I always lost.

Today is made of yesterday, each time I steal

toward rites I do not know, waiting for the lost

ingredient, as if salt or money or even lust

would keep us calm and prove us whole at last.


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