Lisa Fishman


thoughts about the Driftless

region of Wisconsin

where the glaciers never were

& i live near

(Blue Mounds, Viroqua, Black Earth . . .)  

The dog looks out the window at no dog 

maybe squirrels

Don’t make the bombs dropped on people

into a poem

Don’t quote CNN

No going back to place names in Wisconsin or the dog

or any object on the table like the last 

inch of honey in the jar from when the bees swarmed (went wild, left the hives)

and I shoveled scooped and picked it out of the combs, buckets full

& let it drip all summer into other buckets through wire mesh

colanders and plastic colanders and homemade colanders 

to catch the bits of bees and other insects though there are always parts

left in—I got the mouse turds out

though these wouldn’t hurt you either in the honey

especially fermented honey which I imagined I discovered but did not

It’s Spring and usually it’s Fall

The first plum tree’s in blossom

what kind of plum tree ask Henry

I think there’s a ghost in my hair

And Customs Officer, the sooty blotch on Gold Rush (winter apples)

is harmless—you wash it off or leave it on, can’t taste it & it doesn’t spread

even though it’s sooty and blotchy like its name

and you can have it


James named the 5 new hens and I try to discern who’s who:

Mrs. Squeers, John Browdie, Mr. Crummles, Smike & Nicholas

based on their personalities

Modest_witness_meets the chickens 

@s Donna Haraway might say

I borrowed her book from Solveig 

whose g is silent on the end of her name 

There’s a bird house under the tree

on the ground where it fell from a branch

for fifthly that’s where the cat poops

in the pine needles spread out like hair


After the rain there were 23 more

Shitakes than the day before

out on the logs in the corner

of the woods, edge of the orchard

The logs had been inoculated, which sounds like the reverse

of being injected or imprinted with spores 

It’s good to have logs to grow them on

not sawdust blocks or plastic bags, thanks to the oak that fell

and Skinny Pete the mushroom



Then there was writing you couldn’t read

inside the tree and the rocks, and on the hairsbreadth stems

and the chickens’ claws 

and the pads of the dog’s feet between each nail

where she loves to have pressure, where all her nerves come to an end

or start, like our own—

Go barefoot, I instruct James:

The gravel driveway down to the mailbox, Level 1

Rockier gravel between barn and hill: Level 2

It’s important to get to Level 3 for your feet to know how never

to step on a bee or a nail or something worse

Oh, intelligent nerve endings

where the experiment begins


Cash crops go by the windows

of the bus I’m lying down in like an onion

Spring buds, spring green at the ends of branches

where the writing went walking

“Off into the raptures,” Joanne said


an elegy appears

because I miss her

Didn’t know her

Right here she’d notice something

most likely alive or attached to 

someone alive, like his hat

(Philip Whalen’s) or a mouse 

or a bird, many birds

[name some from her poems]


(I’ve just looked up)


on the bus to Chicago

for Joanne Kyger

                         April 18, 2017 


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Author Bio

Lisa Fishman’s seventh book, What Now, is forthcoming on Wave Books. She has new work in the final issue of 6x6 and in Emerald Tablet II: The Book of Formation. She lives in Orfordville, Wisconsin, and divides her time between the US and her native Canada.