For the Roses

By Lyn Lifshin

I think of her watching the

last rose petals on a

day like today, say deep

August, browning like

an old rubber doll

she might have left

in an attic in Canada.

I think of her pressing

skin against glass, a sense

of summertime falling,

that sense of fall

that Sylvia Plath

wrote of. Or maybe some

freeze frame of what

is going, moving on.

I see her pale arms,

sea mist velvet jeans

hugging hips that

never will not be boyish.

In the wind, gone

voices move close

to her cheek bones. In

this frame she could be in

a fancy 30’s gown. Some

thing is raw, some thing

is broken. It has to be

a full moon

etching black water.

She has to know that

from what is torn

and scarred, some

thing almost too

exquisitely beautiful

is already stirring,

some thing dark

as coal becoming

diamond, insistent,

dying to be born


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. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

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