Lynn Strongin



from Epileptic Projections



 

SORROW-DOG, BLOOD WAS RED MISSISSISSIPPI DAYBREAK:

noon butter-yellow as Iowa
all the wheat waving, by night inked over.

Chalk storms
blew
obliterating Kansas farms.

Strife
struck the family
misfortune like July lightning after a day made in heaven, blue ingot pouring voltage of cobalt:

            Forked, it struck: Astounding us lulled into illusive calm:
            Angling over Quaker wheat, Shaker barn
            burning the whole design in the brain
                                                            before bringing the loft & news, the mews of wrought iron
all the way down
to Cinder Town.




LEGS SILVER like one of those Mercuries of the sixties
my hand
calm, blue veined,

jacket tweed
in the American grain.

God gives us hours beyond counting:
Darkening pendulum swings,
fulfillment always a stone’s throw beyond.

Sky that weedy tobacco
of clouds pulled apart:
an occasional slice of apple

            stored
like faith, buried: in a Sobranie, Black Russian. Now canonized comes Saint Evening.




THE BURNING DAY OF WAR filled the frame of girlhood;             Illness, not the Confederates marching:
it was impossible to sleep in that night:
one turned to left, then to right: cannons roared. I have a burn on my arm still.

Of course some of my days were dazzling white as birch.

But mainly I remember nights:

the long tunnels
down which jet & winds spilled
their fuel lit then by the imaginative mind of the child.




WHEN YOU CONSIDER THAT FREEDOM IS AN ILLUSION,

Dwelling even in the New South, & how
at our separate screens in twilight like in the highest boughs of an appletree
                                                          in spring when we were children—
we are happy. I ask—

Did one ver really walk across
a courtyard in Berlin?
Holding consciousness, a red precarious lantern?

On a winter’s night
we go to that
blue glow. an igloo, as though that will fulfill us now.

When you consider the gladiators of love,
.My sister,
it seems like a dream, your back pain:

One can’t push the river & I can’t pull
you here:
You never chose to come back:

Still, flickering behind my screen I can see the fierce adoration
of the ethereal
androgynous child.

When I consider
that it all may be an illusion
why do I tremble & lift it so gingerly which hands as it they’d found
                                                                                     the crack in the world

Athens Georgia, its seven hills, Seven like in Greece:
& the whole evening might shatter
like fractured paperweight snowball bleeding white into my hands.




Lynn Strongin's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rivendell, Solo, Shenandoah, Confrontation, Grasslimb, Prairie Schooner and Hotel Amerika.