Denise Raike | MID-ATLANTIC


On hearing Sylvia Plath’s
recorded reading of Daddy—
her voice, vowels stretched in
opposing directions, threatening
to snap—you find yourself

fluid in her Mid-Atlantic tones,
gasping. When she confesses
she has killed him, though dead
already, you believe her, and almost
yearn for the imagined murders

of your own childhood, the ache
of not being seen, the doors
slammed or softly shut. Times you
glutted yourself with poetry as
primary sustenance. Messages

from your own dead father,
saved on voicemail for years,
erased. When she confides how
she prayed both for recovery
and for oblivion, her young

tongue stuck in her jaw,
what you understand at last
is that you are nowhere
near fearless enough
to speak truths so pure.


Author’s Bio

Denise Raike’s work has appeared in publications including The Ontarion Literary Edition, Diviners, Other Voices and Vallum (including Poem of the Week), and has been broadcast on radio. She was a CBC Canada Writes Challenge Finalist, and has written, directed, and acted for the stage. She lives north of Toronto.