Lisa Huffaker


for Benjamin

You said you were afraid. You begged me, stay.
I stayed. Another night I would have said
good night, and kissed your face and walked away,
but that night I sat longer on your bed.
I wouldn't hold your hand, because you would
have never let mine go. I asked you, rather,
if I should hold your foot. You said I should,
and so I did. I'm not a normal mother.
Nor were you any ordinary child
with children's monsters underneath your bed.
Your ancient eyes were beautiful and wild;
the cosmos broke in waves upon your head.
You dove into that ocean like a seal.
I swam behind you, close upon your heel.


I'm singing to you now of the dark stair,
the narrow winding passage in the air
that steals up to a hidden chamber where
the opalescent colors boil and flare
and brew a kind of darkness you must wear
like water on your skin, or like the stare
of eyes that lick your body like a tongue
to leave it bright with heat, to leave it stung
with jewels. I am singing of the room
where knowing and not-knowing both have hung
a string of colored lanterns in the gloom
and sung a song forbidden to be sung.

You climbed the darkness: who was waiting there?
What incubus or angel would prepare
your dreaming-space with incense, so the air
would coil around your body like a snare
and breathe a fervid blessing in your hair?
What demon-god could utter such a prayer?
You wound the spiral upwards from the floor:
there in the shining darkness hung a door.
You fit the key and turned it in the lock;
you felt the turning, turning in your core
of time itself unspooling from the clock:
your chiming bones sang: here's what life is for.

I'm singing of the dark and winding stair;
I'm singing of the passage in the air;
I'm singing of the hidden chamber where
the iridescent colors burn and flare;
I'm singing of a knowledge you must wear
like light upon your skin, or like the stare
of eyes that lick your body like a tongue
to leave it scorched and trembling, leave it stung
and shining. I am singing of the room
where darkness brought forth lanterns, jewel-strung,
and how your chiming bones began to bloom
with melodies forbidden to be sung.


Lisa Huffaker's poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Southwest Review, Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, The Texas Observer, and Measure. She was the 2008 winner of Southwest Review's Morton Marr Poetry Prize. A classical singer by trade, she has sung with The Dallas Opera for ten years, and holds a Master's Degree in Voice Performance from The New England Conservatory.


Taylor Altman
Sarah Busse
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Brittany Hill
Lisa Huffaker
Jean Kreiling
Barbara Loots
Charlotte Mandel
Annabelle Moseley
Angela Alaimo O'Donnell
Ann Walker Phillips
Carolyn Raphael
Jennifer Reeser
Hollis Robbins
Catherine Tufariello
Doris Watts
Joyce Wilson
Marly Youmans

Fifth-Anniversary MC Reading
West Chester University Poetry Conference
Friday, June 10
8:15 AM
Alice Mizrachi: Growing up in New York, I have been immersed in a culture that is constantly growing. Throughout my work you can feel the influence the city has had on me, the never-ending desire to grow and flow. One common thread in my work is the texture--rhythm and layers. I love to incorporate tactile surfaces that compel the audience to approach and feel it. Timeless and universal, my images evoke a raw feminine energy that leaves you feeling nurtured. My art is a vehicle to express to the world my journey as a NYC female artist in the past, present and future. I am logging my time here. After completing a residency in Paris during 2010, I am focusing on residencies in other cities with the intention of spreading my art globally.
32 Poems
The Academy of American Poets
The Atlantic
The Christian Science Monitor
The Cortland Review
Favorite Poem Project
The Frost Place
The Iowa Review
Light Quarterly
Modern American Poetry
The Poem Tree
Poetry Daily
Poetry Society of America
Poets House
Raintown Review
String Poet
Valparaiso Poetry Review
Verse Daily
Women's Poetry Listserv
The Yale Review

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