The Mad Girl Could Be the Black Clothes in Her Closet

By on Jun 28, 2020 in Poetry

Closet of black clothes with crow, bat, horse

pressed into each other
as the dark is into her.
An excess of black velvet,
black lace, licorice silks
and ebony flowers. No
thing has room to breathe.
No matter she filled 72 bags
with clothes to give away
but then keeps pulling
what has no color around her.
Once light and sun filtered
thru her rooms, her hair
thick. Once her lips were
plum and ruby but color’s 
been sucked from them
and what’s left is ghostly, an
iced bud no sound comes
from. Her closet like her dreams
is dark as Bluebeard’s 
castle. Bats could live
invisibly on the gauze
of some dresses, in the 
velour of nightbreed, glitter,
panther sleek brocade.
Nights she can’t sleep,
she hears hooves of black
horses in the crow and raven
wind she can’t believe
isn’t just in her mind


Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It's Light and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle, Lifshin published her prize-winning book about the short-lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead. All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog, Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems . NYQ books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also just out: For the Roses, poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre; Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet,-- The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet Press. Just released, as well, Malala, the DVD of Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a DVD of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane press, Poems and Paintings from Tangerine press and The Silk Road from Night Ballet, Ice Maiden from Transcendent Zero Press