Three Poems





Nothing would be less shall we call it what it is, a cliché

than April in Paris. But this poem got started with some

thing I don’t think I could do but it reminded me of

Aprils and then three magazines came with Paris

on the cover. Sometimes I’m amazed at all the places

I’m not, lets say Paris since actually it’s only March

but in the magazines they are at outdoor cafes which

must be quite chilly now. And I forgot the cigarette

smoke, until I see many in the photographs are holding

what I’m sure isn’t a pen. I wondered how they can

always be eating, biting and licking something sweet

and still have the most gorgeous bodies. I wonder too

how my friend, once an actress, so maybe that’s a

clue, could dress up in scanty, naughty, as she puts it

clothes for her husband while I am sitting here in

baggy jeans and torn sweatshirts. I’m wondering if it’s

because he’s lost his job and she is trying to cheer him up.

I began thinking of Paris when she described the umbrella

she decorated with drops of rain, how she just wore

a garter belt under it. I thought of tear shaped drops of

rain I made for the Junior Prom’s April in Paris,

long before I felt the wind thru my hair on Pont Neuf.

It’s there in the photograph which I hope is more

original than the idea of the photograph because

I plan to use it on my next book. I wish I could feel

what she must, dolled up, trying to soothe this

man and getting off on it. As for me, only

imagining you, the one with fingers on me,

holding me on the page of a book

could make me as excited






all day
nobody wanted
to talk

the sleeping bags
were still wet
from the storm
in Cholla Vista

Nothing went right.

But later the
wood we
burned had a sweet
unfamiliar smell

and all night
we could taste
lemons in the wind





He was really her favorite
student, dark and just
back from the army with
hot olive eyes, telling her of
bars and the first
time he got a piece of
ass in Greece or was it
Italy and drunk on some strange
wine and she thought
in spite of his dangling
pronoun (being twenty four and
never screwed but in her
soft nougat thighs) that he
would be a
lovely experience.
So she shaved her legs up high
and when he came
talking of foot notes she
locked him tight in her
snug black file cabinet where
she fed him twice a day and
hardly anyone noticed
how they lived among bluebooks
in the windowless office
rarely coming up for sun or the
change in his pronoun. Or the
rusty creaking chair
or that many years later
they were still going to town in
novels she never had time to finish

Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women’s writing including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years.She has given readings and workshops around the country and has had fellowships to Yaddo, Millay Colony and MacDowell colony. She is the recipient of many awards including Bread Loaf scholarships, The Kerouac Prize and a New York State Caps Caps grant etc. Her Website is