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  • Robert L. Giron

Issue 64 — Patricia Garfinkel, Lyn Lifshin

Patricia Garfinkel


You conceal

most of your form

in the deep

leaving us to imagine

your full beauty

like a tall, elegant

woman hidden in

soft folds of white

muslin from head to toe,

a masquerade of force.

Ice sheets, on the other

hand, conquer and imprison

even mountains till only

a bud of summit escapes

their stranglehold. The landscape

is hostage to their stealth cover,

giving up and giving in.

But I sing the song

of the iceberg, its mystery

and somber pose,


as it guards the sea.

Copyright © 2014 by Patricia Garfinkel.

Killer By Nature

Nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize

Frost-flaked air stings

our eyes, freezes

in our nostrils

here at the edge

of Antarctica’s sea ice.

Five of us stand transfixed

by dark water

churning with a pod

of killer whales so close

we can touch them.

They arch their backs

out of the froth to rise

in graceful curves,

then crash in unison

back to the sea.

A scolding shout pulls us

to attention. —Stand back!

They see your shadow and will

grab you for their next meal.

This is not a damned zoo.—

But it is hard to pull

away from death.

Copyright © 2014 by Patricia Garfinkel.

Mount Erebus, Antarctica

She is hot and she is frigid,

a temptress clothed in delicate

ice falls while steam rises

through her body. What man

would not pay high to climb her

limbs and bury his face in the mist

pulsing from her center. Aloof and

beckoning, she taunts his dreams.

Copyright © 2014 by Patricia Garfinkel.


Patricia Garfinkel, a New Yorker by birth, has been a school teacher and most recently retired from the National Science Foundation where she worked as a science policy analyst and speechwriter for four consecutive directors and deputy directors for several years prior to working at the House of Representatives, also as a speech writer.

Many years before she studied with poet Henry Taylor for three years. She has written three books of poetry. Making the Skeleton Dance, (George Braziller, Inc.), is her third book of poetry. Two previous poetry books were published by literary presses. She won a Poetry-in-Public -Places award for New York State, a Moving Words Award for Poetry on the DC Metro. She gave the first-ever poetry reading at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. She was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts as well as President of Washington Writers Publishing House from 1994-1996. She currently resides in Arlington, Virginia

Lyn Lifshin

Lemon Wind

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

Copyright © 2014 by Lyn Lifshin.

In Spite of His Dangling Pronoun

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

Copyright © 2014 by Lyn Lifshin.


Haven’t you wanted, sometimes, to

walk into some painting, start a new

life? The quiet blues of Monet would

soothe but I don’t know how long I’d

want to stay there. Today I’m in the

mood for something more lively,

say Lautrec’s Demimonde. I want

that glitter, heavy sequin nights.

You take the yellow sunshine.

I want the club scene that takes

you out all night. Come on,

wouldn’t you, just for an evening or

two? Gaslights and absinthe, even

the queasy night after dawn. Wouldn’t

you like to walk into Montmartre

where everything you did or

imagined doing was de rigeur,

pre-AIDS with the drinkers and

artists and whores? Don’t be so P.C.,

so righteous you’d tell me you haven’t

imagined this? Give me the Circus

Fernando, streets where getting stoned

was easy and dancing girls kick high.

It’s just the other side of the canvas,

the thug life, a little lust. It was good

enough for Van Gogh and Lautrec,

Picasso. Can’t you hear Satie on the

piano? You won’t be able to miss

Toulouse, bulbous lips, drool. Could

you turn down a night where glee

and strangeness is wide open? Think

of Bob Dylan leaving Hibbing. A little

decadence can’t hurt. I want the swirl

of cloth under changing colored lights,

nothing square, nothing safe, want to

can can thru Paris, parting animal

nights, knees you can’t wait

to taste flashing

Copyright © 2014 by Lyn Lifshin.


Lyn Lifshin has published more than 130 books and chapbooks and edited 4 anthologies of women writers. Her work has appeared in most literary and poetry magazines. She has been included in virtually every major anthology. She has given more than 700 readings across U.S.A and has been Poet in Residence at Rochester, Antioch and Colorado Mountain College. Winner of the Jack Kerouac Award for her book Kiss The Skin Off, Lyn is the subject of the documentary film, just re-released by Lyn Lifshin: Made of Glass.

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