November 12, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

I’m flung back to 92 Rapple,
sheer curtains to the floor.
Silk spread, snow smooth,
palest ivory, wall to wall.
Bridal, exotic. How many
years was it, wondering, a
virgin still, a husband who
brought me tea in bed but
not what I longed for. In
the photograph, gauze
camouflages, lures. Soft
dreams, no angles. And even
before the first lover came,
bottle of wine, Chateau y
Kempe hidden in the
closet, probably stolen from
some friend’s house in
Carmel. Months of letters,
photographs of him, one
of Dylan Thomas so I had
no idea what to expect
Fantasy was one thing. But to
have him: ex con, alcoholic,
stagger across the country
with a torn suitcase and
broken shoes. I had no idea
where to keep him and met
him at a motel up the street,
terrified there was something
wrong with me, that that
was why I was still a virgin.
By evening, I checked the
mirror, disappointed I didn’t
see a change in my face.
Nothing about the motel
room stays in memory. Or
when he started living in the
trees, sneaking in the back
door when my husband pulled
out in the Healy. That room,
so pure, so like a bridal chamber,
tho still pristine, the only color
not white in the room beside
the tiger cat, was his, my first
lover, and my body. After
love we’d read poetry all day.
Was it wine coolers or
scotch? He wanted drugs but
we had only nut meg. Like
silk draped over the railing
in the photo of this house,
my body fell over his. How
little I remember his smell,
how I felt with him inside me.
He was too big, he couldn’t
stay. He lit a match under my
window each night and I turned
the light on and off like a fire
fly signaling for a mate.
It was always a good story but
it was getting so cold in
the woods he couldn’t stay.
The only place he can has been
for so many years
in poems

*Lyn's website:


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