Strongin was born in New York City but has made British Columbia, Canada, her
home for the past twenty-five years; taking advantage of British dialects to
enrich her work. In the 1960s,
she worked for Denise Levertov in politically active Berkeley.
poems have been published in several countries including: Italy, England,
Canada, Scotland and the USA. She has published seven books, and her work is in
thirty anthologies, and fifty-five journals (on-line and in print). She is also
the recipient of two PEN grants, and one NEA creative writing grant.
her poetry has appeared in include:
Shenandoah, The American Voice, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry. Her
anthology The Sorrow Psalms: A Book of Twentieth Century Elegy will be
published by the University of Iowa Press in 2006; and she will have a
forthcoming summer feature in Action.
WHO'S PEELING DARKNESS BACK?
We are, you & I, Akahmatova with the hiked shoulder, silver fur & blue breath in a
In Inuvik, it's minus one degree overnight and blowing snow.
In our dream we meet, hobnobbing over patients' charts:
doctor's undecipherable handwriting
kerned well inked
manuscripts of dreams
which unscroll like the Torah:
Night's a ragged margin.
Our lives have become spare
festival laden calendar.
Jews, we are hope in the bleakest hours.
Finger-nailing back, toothing back darkness
like an orange
like layer after layer of an onion we ferret gold at the margins.
Driving back midnight we find a bald moon clean as an egg: Calm:
Inuvik, minus one degree and blowing snow
beside the cathode rays
the blue atoms
with discipline at the radius
jetting outward in a circle which is calm
with fury at the core.
MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES, OLD DIME:
color of jonquil old leather gloves butter.
Let us leave it
with the golden ricks on old, wintering air..
You might have hidden under the crawl space of mother's house.
Gray, clockmouse. Gash on the cheek But you fell in love with a linguist
whose death tore the tongue out of grieving.
You might have sat under a Mississippi bridge & cry all night
years after your husband
died of tainted cow brains
with a man who cried too. He overcame his wound, you never did.
While your husband was out often when young,
you went watering the glass
(till you could see thru it.)
Your world is
rain will soon dot the dark pool. You arch like a cat your spine:
waters flow under the bridge of your body
You cull longing, spool it. Lick the cream of dream-
Night is the color slate roof with soapstone sheen.
The truck rolls thru town:
"Who's Keeping you warm?" Columbia Fuels.
is a result of your being in poverty:
the truck blew up, you could not go for monthly checkups.
That check bounced.
It's been cancelled.
But you've kept your rendezvous with the gods, the ones who haven't been
betrayed by time.
If I could implant this village with these clouds curved like swan's
neck behind your eye the way ocular implant come
from Clearwater, Florida . . .
Winter: Let us cut our losses at this.
Ice-sculpture: I watch circling Pacific Mobile Veterinary Station.
The dark air goes down & a cry goes up, out of sight like a parachute:
ANXIOUS ABOUT WHAT'S ON THE OTHER SIDE
Although the big clock in the diner is Quartz, is it genuine? Black Classroom
Romans, Numberals tall & slim:
I question the value of . . . everything.
My inner weather predicts snow.
If the whole archer bends to the bow,
The brain processing a thought
looks like stormclouds.
Nervous, furious with passion for the rosebud here
yet inquisitive about the other side:
After driving around in a tin box after the floods
to come to a doctor who says
it's over. No cover. Go browse Starware for secondary bone tumor.
I know finer silkcover for disaster than a lover.
& Disaster mingle, Mardi Gras.
There's a space in my heart-graft
where you are pure silver a tray at my grandmother�s reflecting her sterling
her figurines of Goosegirl from Denmark,
But the town you loved with the jockey club
& the wood
confections has been swept over from floods that flowed thru the Bible on. . .
Is it blue on the other side more wide open than shutters on a May morning?
You can always find yourself by the moon:
© Lynn Strongin