Lisa Ludden

4 Poems




It’s the harried nature of it all that’s hurting,
the body’s decay as time moves.

The lean and loafe you write of is gone, Walt.
The grass is dead, straw pink and brittle.

It doesn’t invite children to play.

What’s left is want—lean to the want
until you’re held in a withered lake of want.

It swaddles you tight, this body of dirt,
as you dissolve under weight without child.

The slow fill of a paint-by-number morning,
watching weeds grow up around you.




Consider the gesture of flowers: a gift out of love, apology—
default. An admission of I don’t know what else to do. 

These gestures manifest into something beyond act or gift.
A mythology breathed into being

not quite discernable in time and space.
But in the mind, it flourishes. In the body, it nests.

The nature of intention as healer is broken glass.
A cut, a slip, petals open and drop.

The myth rips through the self, questioning the design.
Telling it to stop does no good.




Some days,
I don’t need hands on me
to know love. Under hands
across my body I feel
soot of days past ash
on my salt scrubbed skin.

I don’t know how to be
a body in this body I
didn’t have a chance to love. 
Sometimes it feels like
solace to move through air

When we do touch,
I close my eyes, slip in
the safety of darkness,
relax in the clutching of us.
Then I can be opened
because I’m not seeing,

and if I cannot see,
I’m not afraid. But
you’ve asked me to
open my eyes, and I do,
but the truth is I’m not sure
how much you should see.

Under your hand, even
tenderest of touches,
leave a body of splinters,
splintered over and
over and over




The early chill pulls me out of sleep.

Bruised sky flanked
sickly yellow

casing what is broken


never fully healed.

Early pink in slow motion
so as not to wake myself.

It is this morning I wish the ovary dead.

Incinerate            possibility.


Lisa Ludden is the author of the chapbook Palebound (Flutter Press, 2017). A finalist for the Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize 2018, her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Unbroken, Common Ground Review, 580 Split, Permafrost, Stonecoast Review, Natural Bridge, MockingHeart Review, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on her first full-length book of poetry.