the healing muse

Volume 12, 2012

Two poems by Lyn Lifshin

When You Talk About Making Dinner for Friends

when you retire in five
years I say nothing. I’m
thinking only to the
first snow, to a white
blanketing us together.
When my mother talked
of her next spring, I
thought only of a summer,
a few weeks of lilacs,
roses. “We’ll visit Virginia,
DC once a year,” you
say and I’m trying to
remember mantras of
hearts and valve repairs.
You see yourself in a
kitchen with copper pots
and ladles, definitely
not a white tile floor that
shows every stain while
I try not to stare at
the floor as if if I dug in
I’d uncover cracked skulls,
bones your words still
cling to, heart tissue, all
I’m afraid to lose

In the Video of Your Heart

the oranges and blues
swirl, waves under
an ocean, a gush of
water, a flash of
blood. It’s a tape to
sleep by if I didn’t
know it was the
clicks and murmurs
that have to be fixed.
Like a sluice pump,
or the water going
over Otter Falls,
loud enough to
sweep trees up in
its rushing water the
roots tangling in
the air like arms of
someone drowning
or the pale wrists of
a woman, beckoning
or waving goodbye

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