The deaf one leaves a note in
the house you don’t still wait
for him in, unable to call.
“for old times sake,” he
writes. Or was it a blow job?
Others send postcards from
Miami, they’ve said the same
thing 16 years. Suddenly they
stop. Your present boyfriend’s
daughter was 7 when the post
cards came. Now she’s wanting
a baby. Most, you never hear
from again. It’s a jolt to read
their obituary, especially if you
left them. Almost a relief with
the ones you cared for too much
No old boyfriend have called
me for dinner or brunch. Once
I could count them, the lovers
at least waiting hours in an
airport with nothing to do.
They are probably on a list in
a poetry notebook in some
archives. I remember my cats,
from 6 years old more clearly
of course there weren’t as
many. Old boyfriends come
back in dreams and when I
wake up I’m not sorry. One
writes poems about a woman
in clothes like mine who looks
like me. Hardly any have asked
for money or good wishes on
a marriage. Some, never quite
lovers, haunt the most like a
book you couldn’t put down
but never finished, left behind in
some abandoned railroad station
you won’t get back to again
by Lyn Lifshin
Earlier in her career,
Lyn Lifshin
won The
Jack Kerouac Award for
her book, "Kiss the
Skin Off." She has
published numerous
books of poetry and
has edited four
anthologies of poetry
by women. One of her
most recent collections
is "Persephone,"
published in fall of
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