“Metro, January 8” by Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin


across the rails, the man
with long black hair and
flashing eyes and a smile
I’d have found devastating
as the blond on his neck,
voice full of flamenco and
Lorca, castanets. She is
as pale as he is darkly onyx,
skin a creamy caramel. “I’ve
seen you, yes often,” I hear
her say as she inches closer
and then shakes hands. He
moves as if every space he
knows will warm and open
to him. She’s smiling. Laughs
a little too much, her green
parka seems to be reaching
to touch him as if if she does
not move fast he’ll dissolve
and I think of myself, leaving
a radio station and not wanting
to go without a hook in the
man who made me breathless
as I feel her becoming. “We
could have coffee,” I say
meaning, my number, meaning
just ask. The curve of
my body so like hers as the
train doors open, heading for
a seat where two could fit. Her
voice full of stories, holding
him as I knew my pink lips
over rose leather said who
knows what they did to the man
on the air, made of air like
those streamers of immigrants
leaving Europe on a boat
tied to someone on shore,
floating on currents
of air like sky writing,
a plea even after the ship’s
out of sight and those
on shore stare into blackness.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005


Lyn Lifshin: “Obsessed about what matters: ballet, poetry, film, Abyssinian cats. Recently it’s Ruffian, tragic gorgeous race horse. She took over my life, my dreams, my newest book.” (website)

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