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barren woman

empty, i echo to the least footfall,
museums without statues, grand with pillars, porticoes, rotundas.
in my courtyard a fountain leaps and sinks back into itself,
nun-hearted and blind to the world. marble lilies
exhale their pallor like scent.

i imagine myself with a great public,
mother of a white nike and sever bald-eyed apollos.
instead, the dead injure me with attentions, and nothing can happen.
the moon lays a hand on my forehead,
blank-faced and mum as a nurse.

-sylvia plath

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