September 23, 1996

A red tide in Texas, a
red tide between my
sister and I. This day
of forgiveness, we
don't talk, haven't.
I wonder if she's
beginning another
diet with a fast. Or
maybe she's gotten
rid of her fat the way
she shed most of her
family, wonder if she
has dyed her hair, is
rigging up telescopes,
saving refugees or
walling herself in with
acres of Holocaust
books, cages to lock
her turtles in. Towels
over the window. No
one is sure where the
poison in the tide
comes from, what to
do with it, how long
it will ruin things

almost the way she stood in the bathroom with the door locked at two

tearing my mother up,
making my father climb
to the roof next door,
go thru the motions
of unlocking the door.
He begged and pleaded,
cajoled, coddled, waited.
Somehow they opened
that door as they couldn't
others deeper inside her
past the blonde beauty
hair, blue eyes that made
me sure she was adopted.
She locked doors in her
head, ran with horses,
men who wouldn't or
would leave their wives,
lashed out, bruising,
bruised, suing leaves off
the tree, suing the sun
for daring to enter. She
blocked windows, caged
cats, caged herself
behind pounds that hide
her once perfect body.
She puts up bars, double
locks her nightmares,
flings her fists like an
infant cutting the air into
shreds fast as blades of
a fan you can't tell are
spinning in circles unless
you get too near

Lyn Lifshin's recent prizewinning book (Paterson Poetry Award) BEFORE IT'S
LIGHT was published winter 1999-2000 by Black Sparrow press, following their
publication of COLD COMFORT in 1997. ANOTHER WOMAN WHO LOOKS LIKE ME will be
published by Black Sparrow-David Godine in September 2004. (_ORDER@GODINE_
(mailto:ORDER@GODINE) ) Also recently published is A NEW FILM ABOUT A WOMAN IN
LOVE WITH THE DEAD, March Street Press. She has published more than 100 books
of poetry, including MARILYN MONROE, BLUE TATTOO, won awards for her non
fiction and edited 4 anthologies of women's writing including TANGLED VINES,
ARIADNE'S THREAD and LIPS UNSEALED. Her poems have appeared in most literary and
poetry magazines and she is the subject of an award winning documentary film,
LYN LIFSHIN: NOT MADE OF GLASS, available from Women Make Movies. Her poem,
"No More Apologizing" has been called "among the most impressive documents
of the women's poetry movement." An update to her Gale Research Projects
Autobiographical series, "On The Outside, Lips, Blues, Blue Lace," was
published Spring 2003. She is working on a collection of poems about the famous,
short lived beautiful race horse, Ruffian. New chapbooks include WHEN A CAT DIES
and ANOTHER WOMAN'S STORY and forthcoming chapbooks include MAD GIRL POEMS,
BARBIE POEMS. A new collection, Persephone, will be published by Red Hen
Press. For interviews, photographs, more bio material, reviews, interviews,
prose, samples of work and more, her web site is

2004 Underground Voices