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Kiss, Baby, the New Film

Lyn Lifshin*

 

 

a much more rare obsession than mine, tho
in some ways, not that different. The woman
in love with what's dead, what's given up
on breathing, caring, could be me knocking
my knuckles raw on your metal door while
you gulp another beer, put your head down
on the table. With you, it often was like
singing to someone in a casket the lid was
already down on, still expecting something.
She buried animals in the woods, didn't mind
touching them. Though I made our nights into
something more, I could have been coiled
close to a corpse. No, that part is a lie. Your
body was still warm. It was everything inside
where you heart must have been that was
rigid, ice. The woman in the film went to work,
an embalming assistant. Isn't that what I'm
doing? Keeping you with words? Embracing
you on the sheet of this paper, a tentative
kiss on cold lips, the cuddling of cadavers?
In the film, the woman says loving the dead is
"like looking into the sun without going blind,
is like diving into a lake, sudden cold, then
silence." She says it was addictive. I know about
the cold and quiet afterward, how you were a drug.
If she was spellbound by the dead, who
would say I wasn't, trying to revive, resuscitate
someone not alive who couldn't feel or care
with only the shell of the body. Here, where no
body can see, I could be licking your dead body
driving thru a car wash. I could be whispering
to the man across the aisle, "bodies are addictive."
Our word for the loved and the dead are the same,
the beloved, and once you had either while you
have them, you don't need any other living people
in your life

 

 

*2009 WOOD COIN: A Scratch and Dent Sale Issue: Lifshin, “Kiss, Baby, the New Film”

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