Winter 2016 — THE POTOMAC

Three Poems

Jennifer Lagier

Sparring With Beatnik Ghosts

Camille debates which shade of black
she should wear to the reading.
Calculates how much cleavage
would irritate other women,
seduce a new lover.

Applies dark eye liner.
Paints her nails red.
Slithers into tight leggings.
Rehearses her repertoire
of cynical topics.

The featured poet
hits on her five minutes
after she arrives.
Drops names,
invites her to spend
the evening beside him.

She smiles as he hands her
a fresh bottle of vodka.

Same Old Movie

Camille has been down this road before.
Recognizes all the red flags.
He is distant, cool.
Lost his appetite.
Hasn't wanted sex in months.
Talks less and less.
Works all night at the office.
Won't answer emails or phone.
Says it's nothing personal.
Just going through a phase.
Wants to be by himself.

She is out of patience,
sick of the same old routine.
Cuts her losses.
Frosts her hair. Packs a bag.
Climbs on a plane.
Welcomes new scenery,
fresh start in a warm, foreign land.
Meets no end of fascinating,
sensual, intellectual men.

So Much Has Gone

Camille contemplates a gray pubic hair.
Critiques her naked self in full length mirror:
belly and breasts beginning to sag,
what was once golden and taut
now drooping, wrinkled or flat.

It's confusing—she feels nineteen inside.
Her nipples still stand at attention,
face flushes, juices flow
when aroused by a man.

She knows who she is,
what she wants out of life.
Then, just as she hits her peak,
this god–damned body
develops a mind of its own,
starts falling apart.

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