Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

[Two Poems]

by Lisa Segal

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.


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...”


SHJ Issue 17
Fall 2017

Lisa Segal

is a poet/writer/artist who has lived in Los Angeles for more than thirty years. Her book Metamorphosis: Who is the Maker? An Artist’s Statement (Bombshelter Press, 2014) includes her poetry, prose, and photographs of her sculptures. She won the 2017 Los Angeles Poet Society Poetry Month Contest. She teaches poetry and writing as part of the Los Angeles Poets & Writers Collective and is a member of StudioEleven, an artist-run cooperative. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Cultural Weekly, The Mas Tequila Review, ONTHEBUS, Spectrum, Poeticdiversity, Writing In A Woman’s Voice, FRE&D, and elsewhere.

Artist’s website:

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury