Waiting to meet Dylan Thomas

They mill around the desk, crotchety wasps, all of them, calling to the receptionist, making caustic asides, until finally relieved of their luggage by capable young men in tall hats, they stretch their livid lips into smiles and cross-fade to their rooms.

I do not smile. I’m waiting for Dylan Thomas. Feeling distanced from my own narrative, as if reliving a demoralising flashback, I’m waiting for a poet whom I love more than life itself, in order that we can speak, soul to soul, artist to artist. 

Yesterday, the managing editor of Mademoiselle introduced Candy Bolster to him. To Dylan Thomas! Over lunch they talked poetry and the rights to Under Milkwood. Candy mentioned all this with a breathless flourish in the elevator at eight this morning and a sob crawled from my throat before leaping, lemming like, into the space between our feet. Tears brimmed as I slid through the yawning lift door and sped towards the restroom.

I’m in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, waiting. Perhaps he is too stewed for breakfast. But tonight he will be at the White Horse Tavern, writing. And I will circle his table, like seaweed grasping for a mildewing buoy, and he’ll call, “join me in my office, will you not?” and we’ll talk about Sunday at the Mintons and he’ll tell me, “you occupied that New England spinster like the fucking Russians entering Berlin!” And how we will laugh. 

I’m waiting for Dylan Thomas as I know that I will marry a poet and it may as well be him.

He will be alone in the tavern, majestically scrawling into his tiny leather notebook. And I will approach the table and say, “my name is Sylvia Plath” and from that splintered moment onwards everything will be splendid and perfect.


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