Wednesday, December 9, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

My mother’s and mine were
velvety chocolate, a doe’s
eye in candle light, enormous
over a table. But we couldn’t
see, what was ahead was a
blur. What was behind was
haunted. I hated glasses,
pink plastic frames I had
by six, sliding off my nose
and making my too round
face rounder. In photographs
I’m plump, my dark eyes,
even under glasses, like
my mother’s while the new
sister’s were blue, pale
and her hair blond, her legs
skinny. “Adopted,” I often
thought. She was fearless then,
danced in those blue eyes
for strangers while I curled
close to my mother on the
couch, our dark eyes, our soft
bellies. Or I worked quietly,
alone in a room the water
fall hid, painting, or doing
science projects. Even with a
film over her eyes, she scanned
the length of my skirt, how
I “ruined” my hair, dying and
straightening, saw things
I didn’t want her to see. “Your
father’s nose,” everyone said
but in photographs now I
see my mother looking back
at me, not her presence,
like everyone said I’d feel
being so close but that dark
glistening polished bark, a
reflection of who I’ll be

*Lyn's website:

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