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Body, remember.

— C.P. Cavafy and Kenny Fries

Poets play the lyre. Sound-Chest,

the resonator, muscle

memory. The cavity,

hollow that never empties.

Burial of grief behind lung,

near the heart’s inferior

vena cava. Shiva’s stomp.

Mourning in both breath and blood.

Shame sisters with rage, a twitch

of the eye. Helpless, hopeless

the bowel contracts, panics, bolts.

Terror, a void, in the mouth.

The psychologists now know

this is back of the brain stuff —

Abreaction. Autonomic

arousal. Somatic dreaming.

Closed throat, shut eye, mute, deaf, blind.

Too much for time to hold still.

We cannot write it down yet.

Our body does, tissue thin.

We need. We want. We call out.

LYRIC IN THE LIGHT has been previously published in A Book of Ugly Things (Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems by City Works Press).


Cali Linfor (she/her/hers) is a lecturer, activist, poet and essayist living in the land of the Kumeyaay. A mother and a widow. A queer all-purpose nerd. She has published work in Wordgathering, The Beloit Poetry Review, Breath and Shadow, Molly House, Ekphrasis, and others. Cali’'s triple-threat disabilities of Duane’s Radial Ray Syndrome, complex PTSD and dyslexia influence her writing. Her first book, A Book of Ugly Things, appears in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems. Currently, Cali is completing a second book of poetry entitled I, Animal. She has an MFA from San Diego State University in Poetry.

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