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Geri Lipschultz


The balloons of genocide and ecocide dangling like testicles. We are shattered, in pieces that cannot be assembled. Our songs no longer fit into the tunnels of the lizards, our half-notes parsed like letters of words no longer spoken, empty of sound, of resonance. Lost is the history whose echoes resounded in rings, blessed and gassed, holed up in glass, or hoisted high and shaken like bells—a map for the children.

In the womb, we cuddled and cradled until we collided and split.      

I am especially vulnerable to scenes of collisions and splits and toxia. 

Here are no seals, no medals, no chamber in the clouds, no rope long enough, no fist strong enough. The flooded hearts. The virulent. The noxia. A spread like lightning forks, like a fracking disaster, like a nuclear tide, like the terrorist trade, like fuses spitting fires.

I have the courage to turn my face away from accidents where I can be of no help. My witness useless.
Into the metropolis away from the pastoral herds, I cycle.

In this town, we walked upon a soil of civility, our stocks full of culture and the ancient tales that devolve into history. This glacier holds the art. Here is where I loved you, where we had the fallen union, and I remember our nest, that sculpture, the age of bronze. 

We fell together, but we did not know it. Words camped out on marshland cannot piece together our story. Once upon a time, I thought this: our story floats. The memory like a worm.

That lover that I was? I have searched for her. Up from that well a sluice through  bedrock with her in my arms, and she has grown like sludge, like what’s inside of a bubble, like jell. Grown her nothingness. She is gone to another galaxy. Lost.

What is left is me. Whom you have met again. But it is not again. I am not reborn, nor risen from the dead. There is no again.


She had left us, my Goldilocks, but the spring home sickness returned her, seeds and lungs, and longing, her lesson of a lifetime. The tendrils of bear trauma had returned, and she reverted—those bears surely knew about sleep disorders!  How she feared the bipolar vortex, how inopportune the muse.

And I’m forever weaving, filling a trunk to give her away.

Flitting for many miles of wandering, floundering in her clouds those red rose sheets, carmine blush vermillion, flannel, and she, thankful for a warm bed. If heart-weary Juliet, or poor suicidal Ophelia, her boyfriend mad for nothing, she will morph into contrary Mary; after all her degree’s in botany. Recovered, she returns without eyelit for comfort, or floral oils for soothing.

 And even then, she re-becomes, always in that act of becoming, a daughter is, and returns with the winds to the snow-scrimmed mountain home, ancient teenager, worrying herself silly about climate change, only to find her bedroom renewed—the starched, snow-stitched winter-laced sheets, how deer and alpaca offered the fur-lined bedding, unguent the smell, the air still humming with bells, her frozen breath. Soon as she nests in sheets, sinful with the scent of pine permeating every room in the house, and the sky lit up with starlight, all her insomnia leaves her. And how she sleeps, so has she slept, each time she has come home from schools and cities and marriages, with kitten or puppy or boyfriend or girlfriend or triplets, it never matters. I tell her stories.


My strong Jane Eyre suffering daughter, with her Kathryn the Great muscle of desire, a piercing in her hummingbird throat, a tattoo of the gods on her behind, will come home to me, the cotton mother in my granny dress. She will don gladiola shoes and carry arrows on her back, for truffles and dowries and buttons to be undone. The summer’s her time, and mine, too, a weave and fold until moonlight sizzles upon ground where weeds grow to thistles skies high—the passed-down tale. For once, too, was I given away, my own sacred snippets of memory, where my long-dead father sang to me, the tone of his low voice making the dark friendly, and the windows lit with wolves, whales, and mermaids about the rooftop, their dances with angels, one comet after another, one lion after another, trilling and thrilling throughout the apocalypse.

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