“Laura” – “Mud Bath” – “Leaves fall;”

Laura

The lies she must contain
from her gentle husband,
preoccupied by his sane
crossword puzzle, a bland
game compared to her recent
role as a reckless spirit.

Her life had been decent
until a stray piece of grit
lodged itself in her eye
as she waited for the train.

If only she could cry
in his presence, and drain
away the guilty thought
summoned by her sordid
affair, their senseless drought
of love could be renewed.

Mud Bath

Steam rises above the ground
as a squat woman spreads mud
over her face; drawing the mound
closer, between her legs,

she applies the cream to each arm,
then slides her hands around
her neck, ignoring the swarm
of gnats hovering nearby.

Two men encroach upon the site
of her bathhouse in the park;
one engages her, makes a polite
remark. They behold her naked breasts

streaked with mud as she cites the benefits
secured by her natural technique
and scrubs down her armpits,
unfazed by the spectators’ presence.

Leaves fall;

Leaves fall;
the breeze curls green
and yellow surfaces. Rain
drops from the piñon

-clouds in rows
that almost touch-

The distance
beyond the clouds
and the shriek
under the juniper

her face
after it dries.

Seth Lachman is a poet.