Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lyn Lifshin

Mother and Daughter

My mother and sister
near an old black seventies
Chevy. My sister in a
nest between my mother's
arms. You can just see
certain parts of my mother,
like a branch in a back drop.
I'm in several with
her, standing in back, her
arms around me, her prize
melon, a book just she
would write. I remember
the rabbi said enjoy
your wedding, after that
it will be your husband
and your child. I've
noticed this in several
other photos of mothers
with their girls, the
daughter held up close in
front like someone with
a desperate sign, words
pointing west or saying
Hartford. The daughter
almost blots the mother
out. It's as if there
was some huge dark hole
only a camera would pick
up where something that
had got away had been

(Cold Comfort)

My Mother’s Address Book
With rubber bands
flecked with powder,
slack as the face of
a child who won't
eat. Almost half
the names crossed
out with a line,
Buzzy, darkened over
with a pencil, as if there
was a rush like some
one throwing a dead
relative's shoes and
wool dresses toward
the Salvation Army
baskets, someone
catching a train,
breathlessly, the
graphite black as
shining freight

(Cold Comfort)

My Mother’s Straightening Pots And Pans
" I can't see why you
keep so many coffee pots
with cracked handles
"she frowns as if looking
at a police line up
where all the faces
were lovers who'd
slid thru my arms
"you've got a lot of
junk but nothing
to make something hearty
You need pots that
would last a life.
They don't make pots
or men as they used to"

(Cold Comfort)

My Mother Wants Lamb Chops, Steaks, Lobster, Roast Beef
something to gether teeth in,
forget the shakes
cancer patients
are supposed to
choose, forget
tapioca pudding
vanilla ice
she wants what is
full of blood
something to
chew to get the
red color out of,
something she can
attack fiercely.
My mother who never
was namby pamby
never held her
tongue never didn't
attack or answer
back, worry about
angering or hurting
anybody but said
what she felt
and wouldn't
walk any tight
rope, refuses the
pale and delicate
for what's blood,
what she can
chew even spit
out if she
needs to

-all poems previously published in Thunder Sandwich


  1. These are GLORIOUS.

  2. Hi Joanne,

    Thanks for the comment. Yeah, that's why her work leads off this month's issue. Her poetry is simply stunning!