Lynn Levin

The Consummate Hour

In the ghostly consummate hour
when your body's next to mine
we rest as tree and troubled vine
mulling the likely horror

of never having found each other.
Never finding happens all the time.
In the ghostly consummate hour
I like your body next to mine.

The lost years will never be ours
but we won't dwell on that. We'll find
our autumn as gold as springtime.
We'll live like bees in flowers
at home in our consummate hours.


Coughed up by the cold Atlantic
onto the sugary shore
that loggy congregation lay
like lizards basking.
The sun had passed its peak.
Time melted in my hands.
I cast my thoughts across the deep.
They netted not a thing I cared to keep.

Then broke into my solitude
a flock of boys and girls
carrying blankets, coolers
laughing like gulls.
They snatched up sticks of driftwood
for a night of beer and fire.
How fleet they were.
They vanished like an hour.

Next upon the fading stage
a snowy-headed couple came.
He with knapsack. She on a cane.
I watched them pick
through the washed-up wood.
The skull-shaped, antlered, reptilian
to them looked good. I imagined

that sea trash in their home
festooned with shells, a plastic newt
some spray-can foam.
Nature given refuge, dressed to imitate itself
then posed upon a polished shelf.
Eventual fuel for eventual fire
like everything. Before that
a homely treasure to admire.  

Fixing Broken Things

Some objects are beyond repair, a shattered glass
an obsolete computer, an old wife who must
be swapped for one who's younger, cuter

a home exploded by a storm, a busted reputation
a banged-up auto only good for scrap
a kidney-damaged senior cat.

Think then of things not completely lost
though by gravity and clumsiness attacked. Consider
kintsugi, the Japanese art of piecing back

broken bowls with golden glue: the shining mends
the imperfections honored, the damaged
the storied, treasured just as much as new

or even more. Witness the prodigal redeemed
after his many falls. The tales you don't want
to hear though he's rebuilt, clean and sober now
and stronger at the seams for all you know


Lynn Levin is a poet, writer, translator, and teacher. She is the author of six books, most recently a poetry collection, Miss Plastique (Ragged Sky Press); a translation from the Spanish, Birds on the Kiswar Tree (2Leaf Press) by Peruvian Andean poet Odi Gonzales; and, as co-author, the textbook Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets (Texture Press). The recipient of fourteen Pushcart Prize nominations, Levin has published poems, stories, essays, and translations in Ploughshares, Boulevard, The Hopkins Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Mezzo Cammin, Rattle, and Verse Daily; Garrison Keillor has read her work on his radio show The Writer’s Almanac. She teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. Her website is www.lynnlevinpoet.com.


Michelle Blake
Jane Blanchard
Barbara Lydecker Crane
Lee Ann Dalton
Susan de Sola
Michele Leavitt
Lynn Levin
Marjorie Maddox
Carolyn Martin
Bernadette McBride
Susan McLean
Kamilah Aisha Moon (Featured Poet)
Sally Nacker
Patrice Nolan
Katy Rawdon
Leslie Schultz
Myrna Stone
Gail Thomas
Nell Wilson


The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Louise Erdrich by Angela Alaimo O'Donnell.

Charlotte Innes was the recipient of the 2018 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Megan Marlatt:Looking like large puppet heads, it was "anima", the root of "animation", that led me to the making of the big heads, (or "capgrossos" as they are called in Catalonia where I learned the craft.) Anima is the soul or what breathes life into a being and to animate an inanimate object, an artist must insert a little soul into it. However to bring attention to what is invisible, (the soul), I chose to mold its opposite in solid form: the persona, the ego, the big head, the mask. Nearly every culture across the globe has masks. They allow performers to climb into the skin of another being and witness the other's world from behind their eyes. While doing so, the mask erases all clues of the performer's age, gender, species or race. In this regard, I find them to be the most transformative and empathic of all human artifacts.

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