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published by Serving House Journal​

• If a Song's

• What Lola Wants


If a Song’s

If a song’s lyrics are a poem

and there shouldn’t be you

in a poem,

but there you are

in a song,

what does that mean?


That you shouldn’t be there,

but there you are.


I will replace you with him.

He doesn’t fit like you do.

I will replace you with her.

She doesn’t fit like you do, either.


That ends it, I guess.

Here I am without anyone.

I want to say

without you,

but I can’t say you

and I can’t not

say you.


There has to be a scramble

out of this thorny pronoun situation—

the you versus him,

the him versus her,

the we versus me.


Still, there’s the question

of where you are,

being not of poem,

but of song

and I being too weak

not to say



But where are you?

I know where you are.


There you are.

A little spider with a bubble

on your back,

hanging by a thread,

tangling in my hair.

© 2009 Lisa Segal


What Lola Wants


To my surprise, Lola looked up from her sewing and said,

“Read me one line from what you’re writing.”

She’d turned the full force of her blue eyes

and Spanish accent on me.

Her question was direct and clear.

It’d be a lie to pretend I didn’t notice

the challenge in her voice.

It’d be a lie to pretend I hadn’t heard

or understood her request.

It’d be a lie to pretend I didn’t consider

pretending it anyway.

It’d be a lie to pretend I didn’t wish

she hadn’t asked.

Yeah, it’d be a lie to pretend

I’d be doing anything but

reading her a line of poetry.


On another channel, as the congested

river of my realities

encircles my corporeal body,

my connective self stretches towards Lola

as she waits for what she wants.


I know that when I cross back to my side of me

and cast my eyes down to the journal in my hand

I will make a choice and read a line.

As I decide so many other important things,

I’ll do it with a cursory glance at my options,

a sharp intake of breath, and a salting

of the familiar fear that

I’ll be sorry I’ve done this.

“I’ll read you the first line,” I say

and begin, “If a song’s...”

© 2009 Lisa Segal

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