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In the cabinet with the lattice
opening, I confess to all
the calls and hang ups--obsessions
with the glands and muscles
of the hair: follicle, papilla, blood vessel--
the soft bulb at root's bottom that I love
to pull out and suck. I knew
Krishna, Lucifer and Zeus,
phoned them late at night
but would not speak.
When we'd meet at all the seedy strips
of airport motels, my heart
would swell and beat my body
wild until I'd heat into high
fever I thought would last forever.
I stalked their wives and lovers, had license
numbers, kept records of their busy
tones--who was talking
to whom. Adonai in the temple
said a silent prayer over
my bald spot and wept.


Do you swear to tell the whole truth...?
No Sir, the truth hemorrhages in my pen,
but lies clotted on my tongue.


Do you want a lawyer?
No Sir, I like the unprotected exposure.


Are you a Confessional Poet?
No Sir, they all committed suicide
in the 60's and 70's.


How many lovers?
Once I thought there was one, Sir,
but in fact I have to answer "none.”


Any rapes?
Including you, Sir, four,
but no one got firmly in.
The last served me
a quarter of a chicken
and while I was delicately
trying to separate the meat
from the bone, yanked me
from my chair to his futon
on the soiled hardwood floor.
His child had napped there
earlier. I could smell
the urine. I know it's sick
to say it, but his
desire made me feel young.


Have you considered plastic surgery?
Yes Sir, but just in places no one can see.
I keep looking for the soul--that pure egg
inside the body. How I long to hatch it.
I'd let my doctor-lover keep sucking
out the fat and grow so light--
translucent in the sun--
I'd find the perfect shape,
intercept it with my pen-
knife. Then, I'd sit on it like a hen.


Did you make all those calls?
Yes Sir, but just in June
when the hot pink peonies exploded
inside my head--thromboses of love.
My blood gushed like a bride's
bouquet, then dried and left me empty.


Do you really have a bald spot?
O Yes Sir, a perfect circle
of "Yes's." I look at it with awe.
It is my flawless flaw.




When do you die?
Sir, every morning when the world wakes
new I go to sleep naked and wrapped
in a simple white sheet.
Unembalmed as an Orthodox Jew,
I watch my body disintegrate.


All agreed to leave her
disconnected--cut any pulse
of light that might travel
from her. Jailed, without
a mouthpiece--diaphragm
and carbon chamber--
it was believed
she could not call, never answer.


I love this claustrophobic box,
the formality of its walls,
the hidden arrangement,
the simple judgement chair.
I do not need another's ear,
just a pen and some paper.



Hahn, Susan. Confession. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1997