about the author

Lindsay Lusby has published work in The Coachella Review and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, and she has work forthcoming in Midway Journal. When she is avoiding her writing, she likes to print with antique letterpress, tinker with typewriters, bind books, and read and read and read until she falls asleep on the dog. She is the Assistant Director of The Rose O’Neill Literary House at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. She blogs at ontopofgoosehill.blogspot.com. These five poems are from her series, “Imago.”

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from “Imago”

Lindsay Lusby

Alternative content

Entomology: an adult insect; Psychoanalysis: an idealized concept of a loved one, formed in childhood and retained uncorrected in adult life.


The girl and her eggplant
would not be parted.

Each night, she strokes the
smooth purple skin, blacker than black
in the absence of light.

It becomes the absence, she thinks.
Pulls the remnants of light from
every bedroom shadow
and buries it inside, condenses it.

She starts to indulge in blasphemous thoughts
like, if I were to cut open this eggplant
dig the seeds from its creamy solidness
and swallow
       just a few of them,
would I be changed?      Would I transform?

When she grows up, she wants to be
a series of continuous atomic explosions,
bright as hydrogen.


You may be wondering where her mother is.

She was last seen in her favorite red shoes
dancing her fertility dance by the jukebox.

Aerosmith was singing “Sweet Emotion” when she
rode her red parade out into the streetlight.

There never was a Hades—
                                          only the pomegranate.


The eggplant teaches the girl about rejection.

It says, At market, you are compared to everyone
else, even the tomatoes and the local honey.

Strange hands pick you up, thumb your bruises,
ask you if that hurts, and it’s always a trick question.

The trick is
                 firmness. ripeness.


The girl wonders again about eggplant seeds,
about transformation and whether it would hurt.

She imagines bones, muscles, organs boiling down
to nothing but soupy potential, frothing under her skin
and reforming.

                       Maybe this time, armless and victimized.
Maybe the next, radioactive and pulsating.


The girl eats and eats to prepare herself. She
thinks of this as packing a suitcase. Potatoes and
nightshade, but never eggplant. A little belladonna
for luck.

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