The only old thing I really loved was Poseidon. He won the ocean. Poems by Dorothea Lasky


All the old ones

Today all the old people
Are on my case
About my ideas
As if I have done something so wrong
It would serve them better
To think about what they say or do

I used to like the old ones
I used to love the ones who lost
Now I know I was built into this body
To be a winner
So go win
So go win, I tell myself
Who is a horse

The only old thing I really loved
Was Poseidon
I saw him with trident in hand
Oh he was not so mad at me
No he was not
The confusion of a hundred thoughts
No it was he
He won the ocean

No what it is I know
I saw a comet over treetops
My body was hungry for that
And what else
I was lit from within
That’s what he told me
He who was so young
He who was pink and purple inside





I felt empty
As I always had
Because in my past life
I had burned to death

Because in this one
You told me I was a bad poet
As if I cared about poetry
At all

As if I didn’t only care
About the little dog
In her bed
Sleeping for all eternity next to me

Lilacs bloom
From the edge of the wood
I walk the grass-lined streets
To come to a lemon tree

What a blank and edible flower
The lilac is
It is as if your face
Were there inside of me

Or on that tree
And inside your heart
A glowing purple, a glowing green

It is as if I had made you believe
In me once again
It is as if you knew I was your true love
It was as if I didn’t have to know

In this life
All you were to me
Was that flower




I know there is another world

I know there is another world
And the people with their round heads
I know there is a sunset made of sand
I know they count in fours just to listen to me
We like the click click click
I know the people listen to me
On the other side
I get the root from the left side of the dresser
And put it in the inky water
I drink the tea with the elephants under a taboo shelter
To sip with our trunks
Not really space
To say I was not really space at all
Going and going
I always said
I was the poem thing
I always knew the people in the other world
I always knew my spirit husband
Waited for me
Under the palm trees
I knew he still waits for me
His blue-green arms outstretched
I know he sings for me a lullaby
That only we know
I know I have had other children
And they sit in blocks of ice
On another planet
Waiting for me to leave this world
And take the rainbow flame to them
To give them my hand and voice
To give them my head again
To give them my lips and eyes
To give them my beak
All done here for all the taking
To give them my body
I know my children and husband wait for me
To give myself over once again

photo: bostonpubliclibrary / flickr

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About Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea Lasky is the author of three books of poems, AWE, Black Life, and Thunderbird, all out from Wave Books. She is also the author of several chapbooks, including The Blue Teraton (YesYes Books, 2012). She is a co-editor of Open The Door (McSweeney's 2013), a book about the importance of teaching poetry to children and holds a doctorate in creativity and education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Boston Review, among other places. Lasky lives in New York City and can be found online at

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