Lyn Lifshin



as if part of history
too, the wooden
toilets still have
pull chains, marble
floors you can see
what the traffic's
been by the way the
shiny black veins
are dull. It's hard
for more than two to
wait in the narrow
space, air thin as
fingernails on a
mummy. If there were
ghosts of any dead
presidents' wives,
they'd pick this bath-
room I imagine, shadowy,
genteel. Echoes of well
dressed women laughing.
Now hardly anyone at
the noon film isn't
old, wearing brown
or rose madder, slightly
frayed like the room.
Everything in this
light is muted, flung
into the past so when
you take the 5th floor
elevator down to exit
on Constitution or
Pennsylvania Ave, the
bright light stings



Lyn Lifshin is the author of over 100 books and editor of four anthologies. Her latest book is The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian (Texas Review Press, 2005). Her books Cold Comfort and Before It's Light, both from Black Sparrow Press, won Paterson Review awards. In June 2006, her book Another Woman Who Looks Like Me will be published by Black Sparrow. Her website is: www.lynlifshin.com.


Published in Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.