The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Lyn Lifshin
always women in the
dark on porches talking
as if in blackness their
secrets would be safe.
Cigarettes glowed like
Water slapped the
deck. Night flowers
full of things with wings,
something you almost
feel like the fingers
of a boy moving, as if
by accident, under
sheer nylon and felt
in the dark movie house
as the chase gets louder,
there and not there,
that maybe never was.
The mothers whispered
about a knife, blood.
Then, they were laughing
the way you sail out of
a dark movie theater
into wild light as if no
thing that happened
Milky summer nights,
the men stay waiting, First National Corner
where the traffic light used to be, wait
as they have all June evenings of their lives.
Lilac moss and lily of the valley
sprout in the cooling air as
Miss Damon, never late for thirty years,
hurries to unlock the library, still
hoping for a sudden man to spring tall from the
locked dark of mysterious card catalogues to
come brightening her long dusty shelves.
And halfway to dark
boys with vacation bicycles
whistle flat stones over the bridge,
longing for secret places where
rocks are blossoming girls with damp thighs.
Then nine o’clock falls thick on lonely books
and all the unclaimed fingers and
as men move home through bluemetal light,
the Congregational Church bells
ringing as always four minutes late,
the first hayload of summer rumbles through
town and all the people shut their eyes
dreaming a wish.
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