Anne Sexton Quote

by Nicole Trilivas

“I am your dwarf.
I am the enemy within.
I am the boss of your dreams.
See. Your hand shakes.
It is not palsy or booze.
It is your Doppelganger
trying to get out.

―Anne Sexton “Rumpelstiltskin”



Once upon a time, Carly and I were roommates in London during a study abroad program that changed my life. At the end of that program, we were flung apart to different coast: her to California and me to New York. I visited her once, when she was living in San Diego. We laid out on the carpet of her little bungalow and listened to vinyl records. We listened to Carly Simon’s “We Have No Secrets” over and over again because back then, it spoke truths about my life that I wasn’t smart enough to articulate. As the record player hummed, Carly (my friend, not the singer) plucked an Anne Sexton book of poetry from her shelf and read it aloud. I left with that book (she gifted it to me, I didn’t steal it!).

On the flight home I became friends with Anne Sexton. Reading her poetry was like sidling up to a drunk dame at an old fashion bar. She’ll just spill her life for you in all of its glorious ruin. The beautiful tragedy of it swirls around like the last dregs of whiskey in a tumbler before she shoots it down, licking her lips, and tells you something sadder.

Her writing to me isn’t poetry so much as it’s dark, sad lyrics; the lyrics that speak truths about life that I’m not smart enough to articulate.