“You will wish you were forgotten”: Three poems by Laura Sheahen


She will not enter or leave.
At the party

She stands looking on:

Glass clinking,
Bright red flowers,
Healthy smiles and anger.

Her eyes are not here, but neither
In that unlit room

Where our coats collect dust.

If she chooses at all
It will not be from fear
Or desire…

Hold the sheltering thresh
Moment now,

Emptying out.



Grammarians will explain
What divides fewer from less.

At your parting
Five fewer fingers
To grasp when sinking.

Out of countless vibrations,
Four fewer notes
Such as cannot be sung
By another throat.

Good genie,
My sum of lamp-wishes
Reduced by three.

Two fewer arms
Waving, warning:
Don’t cross there.

The last gone, now is
One less
The earth less by one,
Diminished and one less



One careless stumble ends it:
The trap is sprung, the verdict in.
You no longer have credit here, must make
Purchases in a coin that can be weighed
Your smile, so pleasant and suspect
Will meet a white wall
Your innocent limbs will be searched
Before entry
Your palms inspected for fickle or wavering lines
Your kind words analyzed for poisons
You will wait and grow weary

As the laboratory whirs

Come in

Sit down

Your chair is sterilized

If you are staked to my future
It is as tenant now, not friend
Forgiven perhaps in spurts of charity
But not forgotten

You will wish you were forgotten.


Laura’s work has been published in several journals in the US and UK. Her books include The Genie Smiles, among others. She now wishes if it reached Indian audiences. Laura is an American living in Tunisia.

Read more poetry on Bengaluru Review:

“You must be proud of the scars”: Four poems by Cat Dixon

“I remember my brother’s sudden screams”: Three poems by Yvonne Morris

“Bones are not love-handles”: Four poems by Kuhu Joshi



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