April, 1996

I was in a hotel room in Ohio.  I think it was Cleveland.  I’m pretty sure it was not Cincinnati, but to this day, I’m not one hundred percent on that.  I had been up for two days, so just getting Ohio correct is worthy of scientific notice.

Havana

 

On the afternoon of February 17, 1909, a small boat pushed off from a dock in Havana’s harbor, cut through the pearl-green waters hugging the shoreline, and slid into the ultramarine-blue bay. Out ahead of it, one of the most luxurious private yachts in the world lay at anchor.

Mitochondrial DNA is a profound, primeval truth.  As far back as all the creatures we can see with our naked eye, ourselves included, it’s meant that the blueprints for the energy of our lives are passed only through the lines of mothers.  Poetry is all about such profound truths.  Sometimes those truths possess lives in cruel ways.  Sylvia Plath is known as a writer and a woman who killed herself.  Her daughter became a writer.  Her son has just killed himself.  A tragic purification of the mitochondrial line.  It so happens that Sylvia’s imagined rival, mistress of her husband Ted Hughes, and Sylvia’s rival to the dramatic (but not poetically) minded, also killed herself, and her daughter with Hughes.  But that is soap opera, not poetry.