Kathleen Lynch 's collection Hinge (released 2006) won the Black Zinnias Press National Book Competition. Lynch's chapbook collection How to Build an Owl won the Select Poet Series award from Small Poetry Press. No Spring Chicken won the White Eagle Coffee Store Press Award. Small Poetry Press published her Alterations of Rising in its Select Poet Series. Pudding House Publications released Kathleen Lynch - Greatest Hits in its gold invitational series in 2002. Her poems have been anthologized and appear in many literary journals, including Poetry, Nimrod, Spoon River Poetry Review, Chariton Review, The Laurel Review, Poetry Northwest, The Midwest Quarterly, Two Rivers Review, Slipstream, Quarterly West, and The Midwest Review. Among her awards, she received the Spoon River Poetry Review Editor's Choice Award, the Salt Hill Poetry Award, a Peregrine prize, and the Two Rivers Review Prize. She lives in Carmichael CA. Lynch has also published fiction, essays, reviews, B&W photographs.


You must change your life.

Begin anywhere: sleep
on the other side of the bed tonight.

Tomorrow walk as though your head
is filled with helium & your spine
the string that holds it to the earth.

Fill a gallery with something
you have not yet made.
Name your show I Promise.

Buy a large piece of blue
paper. The shade should be vast
and deep and remind you
of nothing. Roll it carefully
and carry it home on the bus
cradled in your arm.
Try not to pretend
it is your child.

Don't cry, but if you must
don't stop. Tears
are only water and salt.
You felt this way once before
when you first moved
from fluid into air.

It is no one's fault
you are more than halfway there.
Surely you know that and are grateful
to have come so far. Just go.
Just keep going.



  1. Decide you must.
  2. Develop deep respect
    for feather, bone, claw.
  3. Place your trembling thumb
    where the heart will be:
    for one hundred hours watch
    so you will know
    where to put the first feather.
  4. Stay awake forever.
    When the bird takes shape
    gently pry open its beak
    and whisper into it: mouse.
  5. Let it go.



-after Morris Graves

I never had children
of my own, but to show
how much I would love them
I carried four stones
from the river bank.
I chose round,
smooth ones-each still
warm and heavy enough
to lift with both hands.
I placed them gently
in a baby carriage
and pushed them to town,
took them to a grand
restaurant. I set each rock
on an empty chair
at the circular table
and sat with them, ordered
food for all of us.
I ate my meal
very slowly.
They did not touch
what was laid before them.
The waiter asked,
Was everything all right?
Yes, I said.
They are not hungry
and I understand
that I must pay
for everything.


Kathleen Lynch Moonday poetry reading

© 2006 Kathleen Lynch

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