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Parallel Parking

After Emily Pettit

This is no time to take the scenic route.

I’m talking about picnics,

and maybe earlobes. Tape measures,

soft-porn, ice cubes

shaped like hearts or the state of Wyoming.

I’m talking about making

mayonnaise from scratch.

The ocean is right there, love.

What are you waiting for?

I cannot vouch for the ethics

of this clairvoyance.

Diligently, I drink my Vitamin Water.

Seduction comes bubble-wrapped

in a cardboard box, inside another box

loaded with packing peanuts.

How wasteful. How excruciating.

I like it when the consequences

arrive in a squad car wearing bulletproof vests.

I know I’m not for everyone.

Some people say bruise

but I prefer the velocity

of contusion. Desire

is a starfish but today isn’t.

We can pick up, can’t we,

right where we left off.


Still Life with Hindsight and Mini Bar

The future requires a content warning.

Notwithstanding, I devour its cheesecake.

How better could I honor the soul’s rubber duckie

than by sailing it headfirst into the eye of the storm?

Again, like hope, the moon rises above the city.

Although bright, we accept our moon is but one of many.

Worst case scenario I disappoint others

as frequently as I disappoint myself. A five-year plan

becomes a ten-year plan becomes an ambulance

with a flat tire. Foolishly, I declined the chance

to be one of love’s early investors. Damn my Magic 8 Ball.

Damn hindsight and its tamper-proof packaging.

Frequently, no one wins the jackpot. At the restaurant

there was a tank of lobsters, just being lobsters.

Denial is an aging rock star. Goodbye?

An oxymoron. Though I expected the future

to make a grand entrance,

it slipped in quietly through the back door.


LARA EGGER is the author of How to Love Everyone and Almost Get Away with It (University of Massachusetts Press, 2021) which won the John C. Zacharis First Book award. Her poems have appeared, or will soon appear, in Ploughshares, Copper Nickel, Bennington Review, Conduit, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. Originally from Australia, Egger now lives in Boston where she co-owns a Spanish tapas bar. She holds an MFA from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.


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