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3 new poems by Lyn Lifshin 

Lyn is an accomplished poet, responsible for over 100 books, including The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian.  Winner of the Jack Kerouac Award, among others, she's been Poet In Residence at a few colleges, taught writing courses, and has been editor for four women writers anthologies.




© 2005 Lyn Lifshin





Cove Point


Some afternoons, in a certain

mood, there's a word, a name

I have to remember. Some

times its for no reason: the

twins I never could remember

till I thought of cameras in the

attic: Garret and Cameron.

Yesterday it was the ramshackle

casino, it's name over the lake

where, for the first time, in

white shorts and tan legs, my

heart banged: would I be

asked to dance? And what of

"The Mocking Bird" with its

kiss her in the center if you

dare. You have to remember,

I was the plump girl with

glasses of course I didn't wear

those nights so a lot blurred.

I was the girl who won science

contests and art awards. To have

boys who didn't know I was

brainy, ask will I... was like

heroin. "Ramshackle Pavilion"

in a lost student's poem sent me

to Google, to Lake Dunmore,

Branbury Beach: nothing. I knew

it burned down as if  it never had

been there. Chimney Point? No.

With so many of my friends

going, the name of this dance hall

where I first felt pretty is a comfort

I'm starved for. I e mail Vt tourist

sites, history sites with little

hope until in a warm tub I think:

diary, the little red one with a

lock that never worked there

near the bed. I turn to Augusts

and there it was with seven

exclamation points and what I'd

been hunting for in so many

ways: Cove Point







When I can't find the photographs

of my mother, it's like losing her

again. There she was, her teeth

still white, raven hair the Charles

River wind sweeps away from where

she was laughing with the man who

wrote, "to my angel from her

Arthur," on the bottom. You know

he is real in poems I wrote about

this shot, wondering if there is

a similar one in his (if he had them)

kids' attic, signed Teddy, the name

my mother choose. This photograph

of the 2 laughing, on my refrigerator

upstate is a piece of my body and

not finding it is like seeing lines

on my skin grow deeper. My mother

must have been mid twenties, her

perfect smile, her gleaming. She was

about to buy a new camisole this

tall man was sure was for him. With

out her smiling and free, the shreds

of laughing left in the mirror,

harden, clench. I want my mother

in that photograph before the lines of

her face began drawing back, when

you could still see the joie de

vivre everyone wrote she had in her

college year book. When I can't

touch this photograph, I lose

a piece of myself that held her





After 15 Years


its like not even one year is over.

When I couldn't find your photo

graph it was losing your skin

again. It was there, the


one with your teeth still white, you

laughing near the Charles. When

I had you, I didn't look ahead.

Alive, I couldn't imagine


you wouldn't always take the

car, bus or train to do any

thing you could: make

me tea, stay with some cat


you always wanted more from

as you did me. If you have

a new world down there,

under the roots of trees you


probably have too many phone

calls still. One friend says a

lady bug means her mother is

near. Or when a doll falls


off a chair it's her mama talking.

I believe in little I can't see

or hold tho I have wondered

about words on a sheet or paper


the wind picks up and slams over

cars, as if that came from you.

I don't know if  it's good not to

let the dead go, to imagine


they'll be a sign when there never

has. You've never come back

except in dreams where when I

wake up and you're still missing,


you're the photograph I can't stop

looking for, making the hole

where you aren't deep enough

to fall in








All poems are copyrighted property of Lyn Lifshin.



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