Rosh Hodesh — Lyn Lifshin

Rosh Hodesh, a holiday celebrating each month’s new moon, is marked by women as a time for renewal and healing, a time to look inward and skyward

Behind the dark
roses, she steps
into new shoes
in a room the
moon wouldn’t
reach, even if
it had enough
light. She
smooths silk
over her belly.
Deeper than
she knows,
something is
starting over.
She prays no
one will hear
how she once
wanted not
to go on,
now waits for
the blood not
to soak into
cotton as her
father’s did,
falling into his
face in the
snow, wonders if
if it is a boy,
she could name
it for him


The moon could
be the sea,
washing days
slowly from her
in its waves.
She starts
again, even in
the light the
moon’s like
clock hands
in a drawer she
can’t open,
running, running
out. The month
is water. She
has tried
sea walls, has
tried to root
but feels the
past move from
under her,
the new moon like
a lover’s breath
begging her to
start over


A woman steps out
of water as if she
walked out of
her own skin,
became an angel
floating over
books and walls.
Night air catches
her hair like
passion that
survives the every
day and flowers,
flames into fire
no one can bank or
burn out. In the
new moon she
stands at the river,
her breasts melons
no one’s touched,
damp as the first wild
flowers, bloodroot,
arbutus, bleeding heart

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