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Lisa Segal - Three Poems

published by ​The Thieving Magpie


I think about the things I don’t know about him,
even though we drove the California coast
from the first mission to the last
and dipped our fingers in the holy fonts
of Spanish architecture and fictions
we couldn’t tell from truths.
I think about how we pretended
he’d grant the indulgence for me to buy my way
out of the knot of that tangled brown summer.
I think about the things I could have said,
the things that make me wish he’d left sooner.
I think about the things he took
or asked for without a second thought,
things that built a bottleneck of unspoken words—
sentences left out and conversations left in.
I think about the things he did say, how his long leg would hang
over the front seat of his Firebird, or how he laid me down
on his bathroom floor and covered me with soap flakes
before adding water and himself and we could never stop
seeking that again—
that fast laugh, that easy touch, our fast laugh, our easy touch,
that rumbling together.
I think about my need to rearrange
the events of his departure.
But always I see that trip to the missions.
Both of us as two dried pods in hot wind,
bumping and rattling against each other,
hoping enough agitation would force open our shells.
Always I see I’m stuck on seeing those pods
as an image I use to erase my regret of squandered time.
But I can’t forget—
I can be looking in the mirror in my bedroom,
my carpool tiring of waiting
for me,
the driver tapping the horn, and without a second thought
I no longer care who might know if I give away
what I have left of another city promise.
Looking at my reflection, the carpool driver honking,
little camaraderie left behind the repeated notes
of the summons,
it’s not so much the time
that I’ve lost
as what I can’t forget—fast laugh, fast laugh, easy touch.

© 2017 Lisa Segal

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