Wednesday, May 26, 2010


by Lyn Lifshin

it wasn’t the language,‭ ‬she spoke perfect
English but the way of life,‭ ‬being secret,
too careful,‭ ‬watching what she said so
wildly.‭ ‬She didn’t say what mattered,‭ ‬he

never knew.‭ ‬It was the culture he said,‭
the secrets,‭ ‬the knock on a metal door in
the night.‭ ‬It didn’t work,‭ ‬he hadn’t tried
as he could have but the communication,‭

it was missing.‭ ‬I miss him,‭ ‬but of course
I don’t say it.‭ ‬Miss,‭ ‬something we didn’t
have,‭ ‬missed like any connection,‭ ‬2‭ ‬people
passing each other in a town,‭ ‬hot to see

each other but not having a clue.‭ ‬Could it‭
be because my father came from Russia‭?
My father who hardly said a word,‭ ‬moved‭
thru the house as if a ghost,‭ ‬a stranger in

darkness.‭ ‬So many secrets.‭ ‬What I wanted
to say,‭ ‬I didn’t.‭ ‬I wasn’t direct but taking
my leather coat must have been an SOS,
an alert.‭ ‬I wanted but I didn’t say it.‭ ‬My

given name,‭ ‬Russian,‭ ‬the music I love in a
minor key.‭ ‬Sad Russian music,‭ ‬sadder than
the blues.‭ ‬Something,‭ ‬the way he pushed‭
his mother’s fingers from his skin after

the cycle accident,‭ ‬drugged on the floor
hours before she leaped Niagara Falls
saying nothing must be,‭ ‬like the phone calls,
all hang ups,‭ ‬what I don’t know,‭ ‬secret,

vague,‭ ‬stripped of all caller ID

*Lyn's website:

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