May 2001

Barbara Lefcowitz


Barbara Lefcowitz's seventh collection of poetry, The Politics of Snow, will be published in spring, 2001. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in over 400 journals, and she has won writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, among others. A native New Yorker, she now lives in Bethesda, MD.

Spinning    Click to hear in real audio

    of the bedroom fan
        gives way late at night
            to the clank of an old ferris wheel
                    that spins me backwards
                but like all remembered scenes
                    does not move from its place
                        in the brainís more playful terrain
                            until I realize Iím not
                                in Coney Island anymore, so this
                                          must be the Prater, people waltzing

                                    to a zither as Freud takes a                
                            seat on the wheel, tips                            
        his hat, disappears
                                 to ski on a snow-cloud
                        along with Mahler and, yes, a third man
not the least bit familiar,  who might be an emigree
     from either the future or from Mittel-
        Europa, 1939, but Iím not afraid
            because Iíve been spun to fine threads
                gold chains strung with  blueberries
                        currants that resemble red pearls          
                                 Iíll make my own orbit
                        around the Jupiter moons, the first to dip a toe
                                                      into the rumored sea
below the ice
                            If eventually I must
                                  wake to the last breath
        of that bedroom fan
                 I could easily shift
                        into a rainbow-spoked compact disk
                            spinning its silvery music
                    in a circle dance
                that continues to play
            never dizzy
                or scratched even if compelled
            by mysterious forces        
        to move



Barbara Lefcowitz: Poetry
Copyright © 2001 The Cortland Review Issue 16The Cortland Review