Spoiler alert: Jean Stafford, in her
all-but-out-of-print masterwork
of the 1940s, written during

the flailing failings
of her marriage to my hero
Robert Lowell, kills

Molly, her child alter ego,
a girl too unloved and unloving
to survive puberty, too

pure and awful—like Stafford, who died
pickled and childish three
decades later after winning

the Pulitzer with her devastating,
hatefully compassionate Collected 
Stories—for this or any other world,