Genetic gifts

Her grandmother from Ireland could be her mum      Dad gave her Asian
   "Keep trekking, Ling Ling!"

The fragile x                   child lives in a world of her own                  a
blue bubble berating in & out like a lung
removed from the body          floating, reflected earth in its round
azure sides:
hand-flapping    babbling       a plastic bag her favored toy

(Her name means little goddess, or purple flower.)

In wonder, watching her balance her weight, a hoop, in the garden    a
bubble of water
God's youngest gymnast
acrobat hoop shimmering about her hips
her contortions with that water-spine.

Ivy trailing over her shoulders down to her waist, her milk-white hair
   "Fragile" pulling the bag thru the grass          now with a cream carton in it
high Flemish coloring
high as the sky she pushes away at       ink-blue which covers her like a
cup, a wing.

The Boy Who Eats Jackets

That dust can so shine       get him from open flame.
Boy    wolfing cotton.
(Hound dogs in Guatemala are starved during mudslides
going after what cadavers they can.)

a black boy, born with HIV took to jacket eating

One winter he ate a pillow
& 3 jackets:      hunger that cannot be staved       divisive love:
did he get warm?                      Time Out.             Time Up.

Poems on Screen

Tell me, Annike,
why am I watching letters loop into poems on my screen black flames?
while you are rolled flat              like aluminum               shining steel: but
turf over your face
hands folded over chest
being prepared for the Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles desert:
The Lawns of Eden?

Why am I rolling a whitened rolling pin
over & over dough for baking      coated thinly
with flour?       The pin a platen.

I am still rowing           from last autumn:
thru waters
toward the other shore    which recedes as I near. Against scans, I still
wear a lead-apron
Everything these days is radiation:
scarlet chemicals dripping
into the last good veins:

Hannukah will
unroll like wool from a ball of yarn.

I try to blink:               there are hymns on screen
you morph from Aleph to Pardes
Flat-out winning:
sporting the fool's cross-gartered stockings
going on a shopping binge at Nordstrom's
Nearly one grand:          when the cancer numbers sailed thru the ceiling
a phoenix rising from ashes
making a bee line
                          for the lime    light clued to celebrity from Detroit,
dusk-dark childhood on.

Born and raised in New York, Lynn Strongin has had work in fifty-five journals (in print & on-line,) thirty or so anthologies, and seven published books of her own in addition to her anthology The Sorrow Psalms:A Book of Twentieth Century Elegy to be published by the Univesrity of Iowa Press, June 2006. She has also been the recipient of two PEN grants and one NEA Creative Writing Grant.

2006 Underground Voices