Lisa Segal - Three Poems

published by The Thieving Magpie

OLD MATH

My shirt and jeans are off.
I’m undressing.
I’m closing this day down.
I’m going to bury the day’s remnants,
like a pearl oyster embeds irritants in its nacre,
even though, in the night, my pelvic bone’s
cartographical topography
cradles my dreams, and twist by turn,
the top sheet entangles my ankles,
letting the shroud of my body
hold me in a twin shape
I sometimes mistake for myself.

Like that summer I was twenty-eight,
trying to add What’s-His-Name to my equation.
Shopping with him at the grocery store,
we saw the woman who was still his wife.
Tell her! I said to him.
Tell her now!
Tell her now!
But he didn’t tell her.
He never told her,
and all the sepia,
all the elongated desire,
all that was built
on the vast plains of my simple math,
leaked out of me
like hydrogen sulfide.

One day, finally, I left him
sitting at Pan Pacific Park as dusk
fell across Beverly and Third,
lingered over the Tar Pits
and draped the Farmers Market
with shafts of darkness
that enclosed the parking lot and nursery
where the Grove is now.

Car exhaust pressed into my lungs as I ran,
my calculations evaporating
like the fry oil from El Coyote
as it floats down the street of a city
that rewrites the story
until it finds a producer
to fund it.

© 2017 Lisa Segal

© 2018 Lisa R. Segal