Poem Up At IthacaLit

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Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

My poem “From The Front Porch” is now live in the spring issue of IthacaLit

along with the other finalists in the 2018 Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit

Poetry Prize (which I won in 2016). I am thrilled and honoured to appear again

in this gorgeous journal. My deep thanks to editor Michele Lesko!

PS – If you go to the Home page, where she introduces the issue and poets,

there’s an opportunity to click on my picture to indicate a “like” in the shape

of a heart. But only if you like it!

Love Note

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It seemed impossible to love you any more
than I already did, until I saw a photo of you
I hadn’t seen before—taken from a great distance
yet still you loomed large—a jewel in the eye
of the lens.

To see the beautiful fact of yourself caught
midtwirl across a glittering dance floor
like that, lucky marble in the pocket
of our universe—my girl—where,
what would I be without you?

Thought I’d offer a different kind of love poem. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Shine

Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplashjulia-caesar-24934-unsplash

My poem “Shine” has just been published in Arc Poetry Magazine 86, the Summer 2018 Issue, available only as a print issue right now. Shine didn’t win Arc’s Poem of the Year award but was shortlisted for it. You can read the poem and the judge’s comments here. I am very honoured to be among the finalists and to have this poem finally go out into the world and what a beautiful journal to make its first appearance in!

I’ve been off the grid for a couple of weeks, away boating where there’s no cell reception or internet or papers or TV! I hope to post more frequently, now that I’m back and almost completely moved into our new house (on a very large island no less!).

Irreplaceable

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My father had the good fortune
to be visited by six women
last Friday: Carol came to clean
his house, do laundry, get the mail,
Sue to bathe him, then cook lunch
and dinner, Ann to cut his gnarly
toe nails and massage his feet, Barb—
a nurse—to check his vitals, Louise
to tame his dead wife’s garden, and
Lynne, his daughter from three thousand
miles away, to make sure he was okay.

The door kept opening, we came
and went, and the golden October
light wandered from room to room,
like us, not in a hurry to leave. And he
glowed with the attention, feasting on
a cornucopia of witty conversation
through the rise and fall of our busy hands,
we, the chance wives of widower row.
But come darkness across the sheets
of his bed, we were all forgotten as he
patted the spot beside him, whispering
“Night-night, love”—as he always had—
to the irreplaceable one.

This poem, first published in Calyx Journal, is in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, just out and available from Finishing Line Press here and also available for purchase from Amazon here. Any customer reviews are especially appreciated on either site!

Legacy

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Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

At the dinner party, eleven people,
not twelve.
A striking redhead, warmly smiling—
the one whose world had recently halved.
Those of us who didn’t know
wouldn’t have known.

I’m used to death
ringing a bell that won’t stop
singing of loss as love’s
forgotten child—a call to mass
sung down the long corridors
of bone.

The mouth that can hush it
speaks to me
of a love built brick by brick,
circling a great and dangerous fire,
holding that heat
like a hand to the heart
when only ash is left.

Has lips full of secret amens,
stretching a smile beyond
mere courtesy, until it cracks
me open, I who have not
yet travelled that road
or those blurred miles from home.

Night falls before we know it:
death has a thing for a man about
to retire. Like a virus, it jumps
from acquaintance to friend to kin,
no sympathy for women and children.
Taking on mass and weight, given

a name, it terribly crowds a room.
This being human—to matter.
Through our bodies. Past them.
Her smile all I can see
of love’s fierce alchemy—bright
crack of light escaping a closed door.

Another poem from my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available from Finishing Line Press here and from Amazon here

 

On Hearing That A Friend’s Husband Died In His Sleep

 

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Photo by How-Soon Ngu on Unsplash

 

Death’s an increasingly regular face
in our crowd, mostly dropping by
unannounced, such that I, too, might
turn over one morning, prompted awake
by Brother Jake on our favourite rock
radio station and find you smiling, your
eyes still closed, and nestling my head
as usual into your armpit and laying
my left arm across your belly,
fall through the ice
of a body devoid of breath,
and wonder what bad dream this is.

Forgive me for thinking then of your
Achilles heel—your feet so sensitive,
no one can touch them. For three
decades, just the dare of my hand
hovering over an exposed foot has
got you up and running. I confess to
imagining your eventual acquiescence
as a deliberate act of love to me some
wine-deep night on holiday. Not me
frantically rubbing your feet, rubbing
them like magic lamps, wishing
I couldn’t.

This poem was first published in the Malahat Review and is included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available for purchase from Finishing Line Press here 

and from Amazon here

 

 

 

After A Health Scare

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

after Cecilia Woloch’s “Blazon”

Him I love, with hair like saltmeadow rush,
eyes that beach me on unexpected shores,
mouth of a wild and generous sea

Under whose spell children have flown
to the moon, from whose lips the secret
lives of teddy bears told

In whose hammock of shoulders my heart swings,
his moonlit back a white bench, buttocks smooth
as ancient boulders

In whose countries of hands I am born again,
whose tongue is both midwife and stirring
anthem

Him I love, whose ticklish feet like gold bricks bank
on never being touched, legs of a mustang,
rain in the wind

In whom has lived the grip, the gale, the gall
of a thing, who as the world turns
is my world turning

Upon whose sun-blessed chest I lay my head,
hear the hammering, thank again the small
gods at work in their chambers

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, due out any day now from Finishing Line Press: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

Christmas Lights

Photo by Arun Kuchibhotla on Unsplash

Children grown, two out of three gone,
we drag our feet putting outside lights up,
buying and decorating a tree.

We settle for the bushes, a whimsical snaking
of lit Smarties among leaves, get the smallest tree
nobody else wants. That stormy year

our street lost power as Christmas day turned
to evening, and we had a dozen hungry guests
roaming the house, bumping into things.

Because the gas stove had been cooking a turkey
for hours, it continued, and we cheered
the range burners could be lit with a match.

The two gas fireplaces burned more sedately—
fan flow interrupted—and of course there were
candles on the dining room table anyway.

My husband fired up a generator, plugged in
a lamp, stereo and the bulbous bush lights; orange
and yellow cords extended everywhere.

I imagined our neighbours gazing out
from dark windows at the bright cosmos
of our house, the raucous hum of

determination in the air. If Christmas
was all about seeing the light
in each other, it didn’t fail to surprise:

how happy it made me, having a reason
to move closer, peer and be peered at,
glimpse among flickering faces the child

I was before my heart got wrapped in
scar tissue, who once got a letter from Santa
saying he was on his way, and didn’t I

then on the eve of my seventh Christmas
see him tiptoe past my bedroom door!
I miss the girl who believing, saw.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Also, my chapbook “Irresistible” is still available for pre-orders until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, such purchases make a huge difference!
In the mood? Many thanks – you can reserve a copy here: 

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

Hunter and Ziggy,

Photo by Ken Reid on Unsplash

a rascally lab-shepherd
and grumpy old cat
didn’t much like each other;
both bristled to share
the same family,
same house.

After the fire,
finding them:
curled up –
for the first time,
together
under the upstairs rug,

the cat that couldn’t
swat death away,
gathered into
the dog’s clumsy paws.

Photo by Cat Mapper (Max Ogden) on Unsplash

These few lines pretty much describe the real Hunter and Ziggy and noonday electrical fire when their family was out. It’s included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available now for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

As pre-sales determine the pressrun, early ordering makes a huge difference and is much appreciated! Many thanks to those who’ve already found this opportunity “irresistible”!