Saturday, May 23, 2009

Three by Lyn Lifshin


everything that comes
before it has to be
fiction. Still the moon
silhouettes your face.
Of course, that’s a lie
too. Only another
would see that and
there’s so little time.
The iris tosses its
shadow against the
mirror on the ledge.
Petals drying over
night as love does for
the woman who feels
too tired to leave,
too late to start over



to put it in a
poem than in
your mouth.
No, it’s not
what you’re
thinking, not
that I haven’t
thought that
myself, not
just that he
is young, that
any ideal I
imagined, would
have imagined,
would have
been his
It’s not only that
he loved my
poems, how
if I could have
kept him in
storage. Or my
self, waiting
for him to grow
up. But like the
chocolate straw
berry he gave me
and I kept, as
if to keep
him, now it’s
time, better in a
poem than
in me



suddenly, he’s not only
in my town but in my
bed. It’s not what you
think. He’s just flown
in from the Midwest
and is exhausted. It’s
not exactly a bed, more
of a sofa you can open up
and put sheets on. But I
didn’t expect him or
anyone and left it open.
If only he’d let me know
he was coming there’d
be no underwear or baby
doll pajamas flung around
the room. No matter. He
is in town to catch a
thief and maybe worse,
a rapist, murderer. The
local police have flubbed
the case, spit out too
much news so they’ve
secretly brought in my
ex, so secret I never knew
he was in this week. He
is long and lean. I remember
some of his best qualities
while other lovers fade
away. Neither of us are free
I don’t think but it’s the
old what goes on in Vegas,
only we’re not there,
somewhere else. When
we go out for coffee, yes
we stay dressed—suddenly
he is gone. In minutes I
see him leaping thru alleys,
sprinting up stairs like in
a Law and Order chase.
I’m impressed. His poems
were ok but this is wildly
different. I watch from a
distance. The streets of
people like a scrim. It
almost seems I’m watching
a film where you know he’ll
get his man. And will I?
Later back in the flat, we
collapse with a bottle of
wine. We’re kind of like
those friends in “Shall we
Kiss” when he’s asking her
to help him since he’s in
anguish with, for weeks,
no touch and they lie down
a little awkward and I mean
they’re friends and never
expected anything like this
but he starts to stroke her
breast, her thighs, under her
clothes and just watching,
well you can imagine in
the dream what is happening

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