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Lisa Low

At The Symphony

You invite me to sit with you, turning

on me a smile that can’t sit still. Your eyes

say the same thing: “Marry Me.” When I

struggle with my coat, you reach to glide it,

maestro-like, down my arms. I could be

a princess and you a prince with such

gestures, but when the symphony starts,

and our hands fold into our own laps,

as carefully as we listen to it, we hear

nothing of each other. The symphony

over, you rise first, afraid I don’t want you.

Standing, I am also polite. As you flee the room,

snapping the hurt of your shoulders straight,

I hear the spit of a mumbled spite, “I detest you.”

Oh, Eros

I admire men who lose their wives

without apparent grief; hardly an

hour passes, before another bauble

dangles from the skipping wrist; and lucky

the wife who digests lost love without

apparent sorrow; I also sue for

her tutorial, for my husband’s loss

has brought me such pain, I find it hard

to live again. At every step I

stumble, bumbling into other lovers’

secret bowers, surprising them late hours,

busy to rub the red-hot cheek of love.

Oh, Eros, take out this arrow or hurl

another better, that I might love again.

After Joanna Wins the Macbeth Prize,

She Invites Me To See The Play

My crown of thorns hung low when she won, for

I wanted that Shakespeare Prize badly, more

than Caesar wanted Rome, but the next thing

I knew we were spreading our gray wool blankets

out and girding ourselves for that darkest of plays

where witches run screaming across the stage

and gory Macbeth kills an innocent King

and his Lady, mad with grief, hurls herself

from the castle walls to die, and as we watched,

darkness fell like a cape about our shoulders

and we galloped to a land where there was neither

murder nor mayhem nor the wringing of

hands, where there was only the morning of

the first day and afternoons free for making love.

As I Age

Having reached a certain age, I find myself

diminished. Indeed, I might be finished.

Instead of walking, I crawl on all fours.

Instead of talking, I bark with my dog.

I do not need much. A cup of soup or tea.

Unlimited sight of the sea. Or, if not

the sea, a patch of grass will do. Poking

through it now, I bustle a busy wordless way,

beside my glittering ant kin. Do not disturb

us; we are busy. We are headed for the great

Nirvana. We have nothing left of import

to do and one goal only---unimpeded view---

through curtains glazed with grass and dew,

of the eternal landscape, with gods in it, and you.

An Encounter

His shirt’s a filthy rag and his shorts

are spotted and stained, hung at the waist

with a brace of clanging keys. Even

the tall blue cone flowers that usually

swing willy-nilly in the wind, turn

their faces when he passes, as if to

ward off the offal of that otherworldly

smell. His bike glides easily on this path

and he tips his cap to say hello,

but one hundred yards on in that wake,

it dawns on me, he might be death, for

a fly has begun to bother me,

diving at my arm excitedly, as if

I were its destiny, recently named.


Lisa Low’s essays, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The Boston Review, The Cleveland Review, and The Adroit Journal. Her poetry has appeared in many literary journals, among them Valparaiso Poetry Review, Phoebe, American Journal of Poetry, Delmarva Review, and Tusculum Review.


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