Guest Poet Andrew Lithgow


I want to touch my past 
in flesh, to find 
the puddle of my grave 
like an autumn spider 
pinned on tight hairs 
of wind. 

to touch the sweat and stink 
of those who made lives 
from mud, who berthed babes 
in a soft link chain of flesh
suckled them 'till mothers' fat 
grew hard on adult bones.

I want the old to stand 
between me and the ghosts.

we whisper to forget what's past 
like shame.  

we hate the elderly. 

we hate old age - doctors 
cutting loose folds of flesh
smoothing our faces, dropping small
yellow pills into our fragile hands. 

science is a dog
we put on the trail of death
and we think that death will
frighten, or vanish, or move
slowly away and make room
for us -;

we are waiting for science to move our graves.

I don't want my
grave moved,
I want it found;
the silly links of minutes
have been snipped,
we have cut our ties
to our ancestors
and the loneliness 
is killing us.

it's killing me.

August, 1998

Andrew Lithgow's Questions:

I have two, related questions

(1) does the rhythm make sense? (line to line and in particular, throughout the piece); and

(2) do these lines have tension or do they read sloppy and loose?  I seem to have lost all perspective on my own words


Correspond with Andrew Lithgow at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop