November 30, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

wood smoke, orange
poppies and nights on
the bed where sea blown
drapes kissed bare legs.
A true initiation
before the husband
drove home. This man,
an ex-con, alkie, witty
but not as witty as he
thought. The first time
anyone put a tongue
there and there. Of
course I couldn’t keep
him. He was too big
to have in the house.
How like Rashomon
the women’s letters
about him, the woman
he took along for the
dark forever house.
Then the woman he
married. Her letters,
the suicide car plowing
into a school bus
haunt. I still have keys
for the cottage in
tangled vines. He taught
me what men did in
prison. When he was
late I was sure I’d find
his body in the leaves.
Nights around 9, he
lit a match under the
window, and I flashed
the lights. He was like
fireflies you reach
for in the dark,
are gone with the light

*Lyn's website:


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