Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 17 . . .

When Spring Melts the Ground

     by Lyn Lifshin

The dead start stretching,

wonder what’s next. All

winter in quilts of white,

colorless as their wrists

and bones are becoming.

They think they ought to

be hungry, ought to feel

around for photographs

of the ones who followed

them this dark bed and

then turned their backs.

The dead wonder if this

is a bad dream where

flashes of their old clothes

are lugged off in boxes,

their names in an address

book crossed out, darkened

over with ink like someone

putting a stone on the

coffin or weighting a body

to throw overboard. When

they feel light move into

the grass they remember

lilacs, white roots of

trillium like upside down

trees in a negative. It’s too

late to change things. Some

times they smell fresh

flowers left on their grave

and feel less lonely. It does

not hurt to know somebody

kneeling in wet grass

is as lonely.

Lyn Lifshin’s recent books are The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian (Texas Review Press), Another Woman Who Looks Like Me, Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, Desire, and 92 Rapple Drive. She has over 120 books and has edited four anthologies. Forthcoming work includes Chiffon, Living and Dead, and All True: Especially the Lies. Her website is

© 2010 Lyn Lifshin