Poems by Christine Donegan Segall 2017

CHRISTINE DONEGAN SEGALL is a New York native, now living in California. She has attended NYU, taken writing workshops at The New School, worked as a copy editor, and is a mother and grandmother. She is a writer, artist, student of spirit, and loves the musicality and imagery of words, the rhythms of emotion, and believes that the arts and spiritual life are wonderfully intertwined. Her work has been published in Tiferet Journal.


My words may clank down
your spine or stick
in your throat and
your hands may fly
to your mouth,
but I will enter
your body one way
or another, slip
an idea into your solar
plexus, like a love
note or a warning
letter, or kiss a desire
onto your lips. I may
whisper, ‘I want…’
into your ear, and if you turn
your head away, I will not
regret the heaviness
you carry in your belly
of my undigested decisions.
I will not cry.


Pierce me and do not let me
leave this place inside, this dark
and sensuous
wilderness of tumbling
words and dreams. Pierce
me like a magician, whose knives,
warm and wet, hold
me by my skin to the walls
of this room. Then weep
into me until I break
and spill and sit, shimmering
and spent, under a blazing
sun, like a mirage.


The red brick of my Elmhurst home was the clay
from which I, too, was formed,
the place where the muscles of imagination

were created in storage rooms turned
into sweet shops: an upside-down
tricycle generating ice cream

from a spinning peddle, and where
a lobby was transformed into the grand entrance
of my mansion, the nearby mailbox room, a parlor

for my guests.
For eleven years,
playground equipment stained with spilled

red paint became a horror story about young
children being taken from sorry, crying parents,
and the branches of lightning-felled trees were our horses—

Princess and Star—
on our ranch.
My friends and I balanced on railings and made up

songs and pretended not to notice
the boys noticing us,
while my mother rearranged furniture

because she was creative, or bored, or because
she was tired
and it was the only thing she felt

she could change.
She painted the kitchen turquoise and put down
black and white linoleum, the color

of my father’s arguments,
and her best friend from down the hall sprayed
her hair in her nightgown while smoking a cigarette

and disappeared forever
in a puff of smoke.
This is the place where we conducted surveys

on our tree-lined street of the favorite TV doctors of passersby
and published our own newspaper. Joey Federico
kissed me and bought me

a root beer, and then did the same
with my friend Camille the very next day.
I took to awakening in the night

and walking through our street-lit rooms, dark
shadows on the planes of my parents’ sleeping
faces twisting their features into grimaces.

I tried on my father’s voice,
in order to have an effect on the world,
but my mother heard it and, disgusted, dragged

me home by my ear.
This is the place where naked men in black socks, touching
busty women, were projected on the dining room wall across

from my bedroom as if it were a movie screen,
and where my mother began to sit
out on the fire escape, arm resting

on bent knee, cigarette ember glowing, staring
into the night, while streetlights shone on her glistening
eyes and cast shadows on my parents’

empty bed,
and I wondered what it meant
to be a woman.


a flash
comes at me
from the angles
of darkness like the shimmering

point of an arrow aimed
at my eyes
meant to shock

them awake

an explosion
a firework of a million
small faces
illuminated for a glance
a blink

yours longest

blooming a silver
flower then
cascading to earth

like snaking metal

i have never been able
to hold onto you

man from childhood
symbol of all men

my heart


the unattached
i live in


How brief the world
And how foreshortened the shadows we make
At the end, but
It is an illusion
Of the greatest magnitude,
This view.
No, we still ripple the waters
In which we have swum,
And rustle the grasses
In which we have strolled or lain
In contentedness or contemplation.
We still breathe your names
As you sleep, and touch
Your warm open skin and watch
You bend toward us without knowing.
We float on the autumn wind and swirl
Around your feet like leaves,
Encircling you,
Reminding you that
We are here.


i am less

when you die

as if i am
merely parchment
drawn on

then little by little
erased or smudged
out of existence

by your unseeing

or torn off
from myself
and packed away
in luggage
for your


draw me again
with your eyes


A lingering dream bleeds
its beauty onto your face and hair
and bed, and its colors,
the deep blues of sadness and stillness,
and pious and tender pinks
and hopeful golds,
pool together in your solitude and swirl
like a river of oil, where you go
to anoint yourself
before you have to breathe
or speak.

A prescient mourning dove laments
a coming intruder,

who is a raucous and rude sort,
an arrogant extrovert,
drunk with sound, who rattles
the knob without knocking,
and sucks the color from the sky
like a vampire.
He glares at you through the window,
demanding you let him in, insisting
you give up your magic and mystery
and peace
for the sake of progress.

But you hold fast to what is solely yours,
for as long as you can,
and curl inside the fleeting quiet
like a recalcitrant cat.
The comforting enigma
of evening will come soon enough.


I need bread and some-
no, om-
I wonder why he said th-
no, om breathe om breathe-
Why is the little one so inconsolable and-
no, om-
Om om- how many neighbors have kids?
no, om-
This isn’t working; I wonder what time-
W h o o s h   a whirling tunnel whoosh a circle
the shape of lips forming om a portal om
the shape of om gray om spinning om whoosh
rushing whoosh a light a tiny light an exit and entrance
om om om through om I am om I am I