Lydia Hirsch Jun 28
Both furthest north & furthest west
in all of America, we drove
through pouring rain

A sign on the side of the road
read Beach 1

After days of driving, driving
through Washington, Oregon,
we arrived at a beach we never intended to find

The beach where water flowed
in streams across the sand,
where a family of seals
swam close to shore, playing,
disappearing into the flat & endless water

I saw a bald eagle for the first time
as we drove through Washington,
I watched it fly above us through the window
clouded with raindrops,
I thought I felt patriotic for a minute or two

Though I’m neither birdwatcher nor patriot,
the solemn bird left me
with a strange feeling, which I realized wasn’t patriotism--
the strength & bitterness in the bird’s eyes
and its steady, prideful flight
belonged to no country

The feeling returned to me
on this beach of another world,
or of this world before it was

The feeling was that it was good to be alive
and that I would change nothing
about my existence,
A thousand agonies were worth enduring
to have seen that bird
and the first of all beaches

When the sky is brilliantly dark,
when freshwater penetrates driftwood, joins
the ocean on the first
and only necessary beach:
Yes, it is good to be alive
Lydia Hirsch Jun 26
Wooden woman waiting outside of a grocery store
in North Berkeley

Made tired by time,
chips of wood had fallen in masses from her body,
entire aspects of her anatomy had eroded away--
most of her nose, her left ear,
her right cheek, her breasts, half her stomach

She had been a tree,
torn apart, reassembled
in the form of a female human being,
no sign of life in her sightless gaze

I guess she’s gone now,
after all those years

I went to look for her
and found only an antique shop
with a peculiar name
at the address where she should have been

I would have liked to have seen her
one last time, this statue
that fascinated and frightened me as a child

I’m glad she’s gone, though--
She resemble less and less a woman,
was becoming clearly merely wood
cut into tiny pieces and glued together

She resembled less and less a woman,
and I’m glad she was killed
before she ceased to be art
When I too long have looked upon your face,
Wherein for me a brightness unobscured
Save by the mists of brightness has its place,
And terrible beauty not to be endured,
I turn away reluctant from your light,
And stand irresolute, a mind undone,
A silly, dazzled thing deprived of sight
From having looked too long upon the sun.
Then is my daily life a narrow room
In which a little while, uncertainly,
Surrounded by impenetrable gloom,
Among familiar things grown strange to me
Making my way, I pause, and feel, and hark,
Till I become accustomed to the dark.
  Dec 2017 Lydia Hirsch
Ophelia
mothers are interesting to think about.
here is a person that God
or the universe or whatever profound and unimaginable thing that our feeble human minds cannot comprehend
took and made into your growing space
her body now a thing to inhabit you-forming into something better
than she could ever hope for-
and giving you everything in the selfish way that love requires in every relationship
her breath
her blood
her being
separated and shared
until time and nature decides to spill you out into the world for all to see.
No wonder you cried when you were born
  Dec 2017 Lydia Hirsch
Ophelia
I think they understand squat
In your ear
The colossus is growing
Split at your feet like a ripe fruit
Concave flesh
Clock starts—flesh, bone
Nothing there

Mundane space between the knife and thumb
“What a thrill,” you tell to me, “My thumb instead of an onion.”
Thrill indeed
Your father instead of the world
Swallow black—whole oceans in your throat
Swimming back to Daddy

You did it again and I say it’s
Coming back again
Back again
Again

Lilac nurse in a prom dress
Tinged in grey and Cambridge sweaters
Brushing the sun
Teddy makes you laugh eventually
Say you know what you want
He said you were the real thing
So learn

I can taste you alive
I’m underneath the floorboards
Ibuprofen
Blue tinged with your bandages
Christ takes His time to raise me back
The black dog
3 years
Still digging even when

You and I cross the sky and I cross my heart and I cross my legs oh my
God
Bit your pretty red heart in two
for sylvia.
  Dec 2017 Lydia Hirsch
Ophelia
body
lightweight flesh stretched over bones young enough to be
mine
she says, “I’m not asking you to believe in me.
but
silver-haired daddy’s got it confused
i’m not persephone.”
talk can be dangerous and  tape it across my
mouth
“these things you need to do
i never asked you how.”
line me up in single file
with all your grievances
still
i can taste you still
alive
below the waves
something tragic in your stars and charts and maps and
       destiny
black dog coming back when you
open up
for the rest of the world to breathe
i think i can see
“I’m not asking you to believe in me.
but
silver-haired daddy’s got it confused
i’m not persephone.”
but if you need time
sometimes i think
if we take some time
i won’t mind
down the river your friend names
after me
i don’t hold onto the tales of your kind
line me up in single file
with all your grievances
still
i can taste you still
alive
below the waves

calling for myself  in the corners of the world
i know she’s playing poker with the rest of the stragglers
pale kind
i know she’s playing poker with the rest
the rest
how many fates turn around in the other time
bag in the ulcer field
dreams that you’ll never find
you thought that you were the damned one
WELL SO DID I
SAY YOU DON’T WANT IT
SAY YOU DON’T WANT IT
SAY YOU DON’T WANT IT
AGAIN AND AGAIN And again and again and

she says, “I’m not asking you to believe in me.
but
silver-haired daddy’s got it confused
i’m not persephone.”
talk can be dangerous and  tape it across my
mouth
“these things you need to do
i never asked you how.”

i know we’re falling and there’s no sign of getting through
in your heart i feel the west
and it’s dying too
for sacajawea.

— The End —