December 7, 2009


on the same street my mother
tried to walk to to rescue her
dog, his papers in a small box
of what mattered most in the
back of the closet with pale
blue letters written in small
handwriting with almost as
pale blue ink. In a small town
you can walk almost any
where but my mother was 9
and her socks drooped around
her ankles, rubbed skin raw.
Later, again in the town she
never wanted to move back
to, we lived a street away.
Maybe she wanted to be close
to the last place she held that
small part Spitz mongrel
who limped with her on three
legs, was more loyal than
most husbands. We heard
horses some nights in the
wind, could smell honey and
clover. The vet’s brother
worked in the store, limped
from a war injury and kept a
flask near the cash register
but nobody would fire him,
treated him like someone
in the family. Tho my mother
and father fought in the stucco
house, the Emilo house and
finally in the apartment, some
late June nights we drifted in
long amber light up that street
past the sound of the dogs,
like wind chimes. My father
whistled and my mother hummed
along, held a bottle or new
honey and for once, nobody
was about to spoil any night
washed with such sweetness

by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:


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