Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 6 • Summer 2003 • Poetry

a wet shell back

sara seinberg

this is three times in one day my back has been wet:

1. the pool
2. the shower
3. this sweat

this is chlorine,
this is filtered water,
this is salt.

with so much water
in the body,
i stand waiting
to dissolve.
to return home.

my head smashed
into the neck.
a turtle's head
keeping watch over shoulders.
if i begin to move,
as slow as that may be.
will i crawl?
these short masts
with clawed feet
propelling earth
a turtle's knees
are not made
to bow.

and will i be chasing
a bunny
with dog's legs,
the favorite of the race
weighted in the
sports pages'
odds column:

hare vs. tortoise
ha ha
67,364 : 1

and if i beat those odds,
will i be home then?
the ego charading itself
as some sort of
quick valiance,
a fourteenth minute of fame?

oh, it is ridiculous
to die alone,
the only sure thing there is.
but more ridiculous still
to think that here,
under the colossal spring bloom
and the humid stew of lilac,
that here
in the dirt and grass
we actually

i remember laughter.
i remember
when we all got together,
seven creatures with cigars,
playing poker
and tossing chips
on the table
like rain
squinting through the smoke
across the table
rubbing the green felt
bluffing and lying
like the best gamblers do.
together alone,
shelled and smoking
laughing laughing
because it all felt so preposterous,
so insane,
so orange and red
in a room of
to be there,
sliding one card,
slipping between two others,
that run of spades for
all those chips and
we'd talk
of green knees
that never kneel
and thick tongues
looking for home.

sara seinberg is a writer and visual artist who lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Her work can be found in a gang of anthologies: Sex and Single Girls, Will Work for Peace: New Political Poems, Thrills Chills Pills and Heartbreak, and Lowdown Highway, and her photographs appear in galleries and magazines including Ms., TimeOut New York, and The Stranger. She has a nice Taurus dog named Gus.

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