The Bell Jar

 

Quiet as a burglar in my cornflower-sprigged bathrobe, I crept to the edge of the parapet. The parapet reached almost to my shoulders, so I dragged a folding chair from the stack against the wall, opened it, and climbed on to the precarious seat. A stiff breeze lifted the hair from my head. At my feet, the city doused its lights in sleep, its buildings blackened, as if for a funeral. It was my last night.

I grasped the bundle I carried and pulled at a pale tail.  A strapless eslasticized slip which, in the course of wear, had lost its elasticity, slumped into my hand. I waved it, like a flag of truce, once, twice…The breeze caught it and I let go. A white flake floated out into the night, and began its slow descent. I wondered on what street or rooftop it would come to rest. I tugged at the bundle again. The wind made an effort, but failed, and a batlike shadow sank towards the roof garden of the penthouse opposite.

Piece by piece, I fed my wardrobe to the night wind, and flutteringly, like a loved one’s ashes, the grey scraps were ferried off, to settle here, there, exactly where I would never know, in the dark heart of New York

– Sylvia Plath

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