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Lifshin & Anderson – Nov.13

Lyn Lifshin and Michel Anderson traded art and words. Michel shared this untitled photograph:


In response, Lyn wrote this poem:


Suddenly, no one else is as beloved.
Her last words, cherished as Jesus’s,
Her blue pajamas, relics.

Something other than fire
enters a hole in her bedroom,
a sick lover, a director whose casting

couch is death. Girls like this are
beautiful on TV news, tear
you up without uttering a sentence.

Amber light turns them holy.
They play their role to perfection.
They leave DNA in their tears

A last grimace.
Her blue last sheets
leaves you as broken

* * * * *

Lyn shared this poem with Michel:


A swan moved into the house, camouflaged
among geese. She must have been, or the
mist from the pond blurred her. I say her
because her antics never seemed male. Never
threatening, but coy. And never loitering
on my side of the bed. I suppose she was
cold or starved. This year, the pond froze
early. When I think back, I remember a white
feather on the deck but that wasn’t so strange.
The tangerines were gnawed before they were
ripe. It could have been crows or gulls I
told myself after the space between my lover
and I in bed got wider. He thought this
whiteness was lovely as he had psychotic
ballet dancer lovers who became swans. The
quilt’s full of feathers he’d insist when a
pale wreathe of her circled the sheets. I thought
it was more like something wild staking territory.
It wasn’t that we really saw her though it is
clear the cat did. She was more of a presence
and haunting as a dead love whose handwriting
lures and chills. I felt her watch him. She
knew his moods, each move and had more time to
plot seduction than I did. Being unattainable
didn’t hurt. He felt her breath and his blood
couldn’t sleep. Drugs hardly helped but for
once, he didn’t mind not sleeping. When he turned
up music too loud for me, she moved into his arms
downstairs. I kept typing. I could feel her legs
sprawled open like a dancer with a miracle 180 degree
arabesque, hardly human, a wild open grin. Crumbs
and bread disappeared. There were more feathers,
it was like a mist and the moon was hazy through her
as if a storm was coming. Once when I opened an old
quilt from Odessa the room filled with its snow.
Some days seemed as opaque. The day the pond froze
for good the house felt somehow different. The cat
stopped being spooked. A downstairs window looked
splintered but then I saw it was only frost etched
in what looked like a hieroglyph, something in a
language I don’t know. I vacuumed up the last
feathers. The stain of wings still hangs in the
air, gives the room a bluish light. Still, her
leaving wasn’t like a break up where someone leaves
the house, packs a painting, favorite gloves but
more the way something comes apart, as it did, so
slowly it’s hard to tell when what isn’t wasn’t
still whole

In response, Michel created this piece, “This December”:


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