Poem by Lyn Lifshin
It was just a blur, like you might think,
stumbling from the White Horse Tavern,
the maples already tinged with blood.
He wasn’t booming and loud; he wasn’t
his voice, wasn’t that poet booming
on records, all Swansea and raging.
There was no wild dying of the light.
We stopped for egg creams. He loved
them better than the cream of a woman’s
thighs many say he collapsed in, took
the long-legged bait and shipwrecked,
but it was the cove of skin, the warmth,
everything unlike the dark coalmines or
the gray mist of Rhémy. I won’t forget
the softness of his curls. He wasn’t my
type, too fair, and he didn’t work out,
his body soft as his lips. He was more
like a pet, a kitten I could let cuddle
against me. Was I a virgin? What does
that matter. Or whether he was a good
lover. When he held my cat, who
always hissed at new people, she let
him press her into his skin, as if, like
when he held me, her fur could keep
fear from spilling and staining the
rest of Wednesday.
The 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
We are pleased to announce this poem as a Finalist for the 2015 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry, honoring the independent press’ best poems of the year. The winners are selected by an external panel that judges all pieces blindly and selects the full list of 12 finalists from hundreds of entries. Alternating Current does not determine the final outcome for the judging; the external judges’ decisions are final.
Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks, including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Recent books include: A Girl Goes into the Woods (NYQ Books), For the Roses, Secretariat: The Red Freak, Tangled as the Alphabet: The Istanbul Poems, The Miracle, Malala, The Marilyn Poems, and Moving through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Lyn was also the subject of a recent documentary, Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass.
Originally published on 7/2/15.