Author: Lyn Lifshin

you know the story of
the woman in a
turret and how ivy
puts its fingers
across the moon.
And besides, no one
could hear. Ivy
that grows like
kudzu in the
deepest part of Georgia
swallowing up a
single house
in one night. I would
have lowered my long
hair to a lover,
lured him with blood
in a bottle, each
drop a ruby with
a poem etched on it.
Or carved my initials
in the grey stone
around his heart. I’d
have talked to the
birds or waited,
slept 20 years, given
away my children.
Only I was outside
trying to get in

Visit Lyn Lifshin online. Check out her book Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems,

lightening with moths

white behind the walnuts

If a woman couldn’t sleep
and came to this window
in this light her skin
would glow like bones

Clouds over the full moon
even with the wind

What would have been
nuts looks like limes
on the white stones,

it sounds like some
one tapping on a glass
coffin. It sounds

like someone tapping
from within the tree

Visit Lyn Lifshin online. Check out her book Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems,

A girl goes into the woods
and for what reason
disappears behind branches
and is never heard from again.
We don’t really know why,
she could have gone shopping
or had lunch with her mother
but instead has gone into
woods, alone, without the lover,
and not for leaves or flowers.
It was a clear bright day
very much like today.
It was today. Now you might
imagine I’m that girl,
it seems there are reasons. But
first consider: I don’t live
very near those trees and my
head is already wild with branches

Visit Lyn Lifshin online. Check out her book Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems,

Enheduanna braids her
long black braids. Behind
her eyes, temples grow
out of cosmic mist,
lift their necks to the sky.
Sometimes she longs
to be small enough
to play in her mother’s
quilts and weavings.
Sometimes she feels over-
whelmed by life’s mystery
and fear, its terror and
dread, it’s beauty and
desire. Think of her as a
torch singer, belting
out what scorches and
what can calm, her songs
carved into hard clay that
will dance, a wild jazz
scat. Her skin smells of
saffron and sun, the music
of the Euphrates in the
back ground, she scatters
her stories in the rushes.
Images flutter in and
out of the palace walls until,
like an ink tattoo, she
pierces the clay like skin
and tells the wild story

Sargon must have held
this baby daughter,
palm date fronds
blowing in an olive
wind. His pale jewel.
Lutes in the distance,
small stringed
instruments. Under
the house, bones
of dead families
wrapped in maps and
carpets, dead children
in clay jars with
precious objects: cow
lamb, turtles, jars
of rich food
and barley with the
hope that the
spirit may be re-
born, come back to
then in the flesh again

showing off her new ink.
Let her father do what
he has to being leader,
in control, doing his
kingly duties. Today no
woman is as wildly
passionate, a headstrong
beauty, a lyrical torch
singer who would be as
happy not being out
with the crowds.
Ambivalent and fearsome,
her voice a jazz blues
riff, feminist jazz
humming. And would
you expect less from
a woman who couldn’t
sleep and walked out alone
under the stars and could
not keep what was
pulsing inside her, dug
her feelings into clay
and signed her name as
no one else had before