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Lyn Lifshin

Lyn Lifshin was born and raised in Vermont. She received a BA from Syracuse University and an MA from the University of Vermont. Lifshin published numerous poetry collections, including Secretariat: The Red Freak, The Miracle (Texas Review Press, 2014); Another Woman Who Looks Like Me (Black Sparrow–David Godine, 2006), which received the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; Before It’s Light (Black Sparrow Press, 1999), which received the Paterson Poetry Award; Cold Comfort: Selected Poems 1970–1996 (Black Sparrow Press, 1997); and Kiss the Skin Off (Cherry Valley Editions, 1985). She died on December 10, 2019.

By This Poet


Being Jewish in a Small Town

Someone writes kike on 
the blackboard and the 
"k's" pull thru the 
chalk   stick in my

plump pale thighs
even after the high
school burns down the
word is written in

the ashes   my under
pants elastic snaps
on Main St because
I can't go to

Pilgrim Fellowship
I'm the one Jewish girl
in town but the 4
Cohen brothers

want blond hair
blowing from their
car   they don't know
my black braids

smell of almond
I wear my clothes
loose so no one
dreams who I am

will never know
Hebrew   keep a 
Christmas tree in
my drawer   in

the dark   my fingers
could be the menorah
that pulls you toward
honey in the snow