Shira Erlichman


Born in Israel, now living in Brooklyn, Shira Erlichman is an author, visual artist, and musician. Her poems explore recovery – of language, of home, of mind. Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder a decade ago fundamentally changed her life and, wildly enough, deepened her love of being here. Her poetry book Odes to Lithium centers around her experiences with mental illness. Her picture book Be/Hold: A Friendship Book uses compound words to illuminate what is possible when we come together. Shira is the founder of Freer Form, a portable creativity school. She earned her BA at Hampshire College. She has been awarded the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe, as well as a residency by the Millay Colony. She was a  Finalist for the Lambda Award and a Silver Medalist for the Nautilus Award. Her work has been featured in Buzzfeed Reader, The Rumpus, PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times, among others. Source

The Best Part Of Anything

I am riding my bike when I see them. The breeze slides

my dress strap off my shoulder and I am thinking of Richard

and the babysitter and what I will make for dinner.

There are two of them. Lesbians, that is. They are enormous.

They go into the diner so I follow. I slouch in my booth

and watch them in theirs. It is another planet, inhabited only

by them and their laughter. My feet are moving and I am

walking up to them. “Pardon,” I say. I even look one in the eye.

The other looks me up and down. This is how lesbians size up

other women to see if they are like them or not. I know this

and much more because I read Woman to Woman Magazine.

Next I ask if I can photograph them. I am not a photographer

but it is what comes out. I get to their apartment the next morning

and they are just coming up the stairs from being out all night.

When we get inside, they look at me as if for directions.

Watching them undress is like watching a set from a play get struck down.

This is the best part of anything that will happen, I think. I follow them

into the bathroom where, in silence, we run the water. We sit

until their fingers become pruny, and even then, we sit some more.

“What are you?” One of them asks me. “Cancer,” I say. “Leos,” they say

in unison. One of them pulls off her fake eyelashes. “So,” I say, “I guess

I should take your picture.” They get up, careful not to drip on the tiles.

Still in their towels, they agree on the stairwell. I lean against the hallway

wall and stare through the viewfinder. Their bodies are blurred. I click.

“How terrific,” I hear myself say, like a photographer might.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




LGBTQ+ Experience

Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”