Some Afternoons When
Nobody Was Fighting

my mother took out walnuts
and chocolate chips. My
sister and I plunged our
fingers in flour and butter
smoother than clay. The
sweetness on our skin, the
pale dough oozing between
our fingers. While the
house filled with blond
bars rising, we licked the
beaters with our tongues,
the spatula sweeter than
a lover's tongue might be
later. My mother in her pink
dress with black ballerinas
circling its bottom put on
the Victrola, Cab Calloway
maybe singing Minnie the
Moocher or Russian balalaika
or the Don Cossack dancers
and my mother tucked her
dress up so it was like their
tunics, kicked her legs up in
the air and before we were
old enough to be embarrassed,
my sister and I pranced thru
the living room, a bracelet
around her. She was our
Pied Piper and we were lured
like the children of Hamlin,
circling her as close as the
dancers on her hem

Lyn Lifshin

I was so close to my mother I didn't know how I would go on without her - Bambi terrified me. But at 11, I knew I never wanted a child. Never wavered. I do, though, baby my 20-plus-year-old Abyssinian cat, Memento.

If you've any comments on this poem, Lyn Lifshin would be pleased to hear from you. Or you can visit


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