Carolyn Foster Segal

Camera Obscura

Light falls
on the gabled roof,
illuminates every pock-
mark in the bricks
of the house
where you imagined
you would always live.
Here are the willow trees,
the heady lilacs — you can count the
shadows of leaves on the walk,
the benches, the faces of
all those you ever wanted
to love you —
you with your back turned,
mourning now
the inverted world.

My Mother’s Hats

Lying on the floor of Miss Barbaras Hat Shoppe,
her poodle draped over my arm like a diva’s scarf,
I planned my life, while my mother tried on Easter hats.
I took notes, I made lists, I knew
what I needed: a black patent handbag,
red high heels, one straw hat, trimmed with
pink silk roses, and one blue satin circle
with a little veil that cut across
my made-up eyes; I wanted magic, a tube
of scarlet lipstick, clip-on faux pearl earrings,
and a fox stole, the fox clamping down on its tail,
like the end of a story. Bright-eyed, I sang
to the mirror. I wasn’t dreaming then
of war or a handsome boy with a ponytail,
and I loved church, with its
incense and Latin hymns, the singing
in tongues. I wanted mystery, a French
twist, white carnations; I wanted
time to start and time to stop.
I wanted a hatbox like the one
I’m filling now
with all my mother’s hats.

About the author

12.4 (Summer 2008)   The 2River View