from The Encyclopedia of Love by Caryn Lazzuri


A is for April

Everyone on this train
is beautiful
It’s one of those days
my God man
your hook nose
is spectacular
and your acne scars
look great
the way they emphasize
your eyes
what are you wearing
you smell so good
I just have to
sit right down
right down next to you
and smile
I’m like a bird
hey feathers
I really dig your earlobes
what part of you
can I touch
in public
that lady is looking
she can come too
No one has held me
since winter
I will take off my clothes
right here for all of you
I want you
everyone in the world



I is for Invitation

After the rain
the train
and the people on the train
are swollen
we have too much
we carve dead skin
from our bodies
soft and failing
he says his dad
has cancer
he says Olivia
left him
but what he wants
is to say
there are skylights
in the new apartment
new old pots and pans
from Goodwill
functioning bachelor
he can see the moon
he says Oh Caryn
you should see this moon
the train is so quiet
in the almost winter
rumbling north
I say
are you sad
he says no
I don’t feel that way
he says come visit
bring something elegant
how long has it been
the woman next to me
is reading Kafka
it’s been six years
I don’t say anything
the moonlight rains
through the skylights
he’s right about beauty
although we can’t see it
from here



Th is for Threesome

The day before our date
I say Wait,
       Your wife?

Al, he says, I’m glad you asked
  (because I told him he could call me Al)
and tells me of his fallout with monogamy.

Do they even make bicycles built for three?
I’d ride the middle, feet on his shoulders,
leaning back into Leah’s imagined, perfect tits.

The problem with fantasy is
you try all night to be someone else
and fail
            thank God

But I could be kissed goodnight all day

It feels good to be in my body
pressed against the body
of someone else’s husband

I gave myself permission
to do nothing

I am thinking all the time
about Free Love
    how to set Love free

There it goes through the field just now
a raging hippie
its energy is so damn good

I am too old to experiment­­—
That’s untrue, but a good excuse
to subtract this date by two

In the morning it’s easy to remember
what a generous lover
the sunrise is

when you’ve got her
to yourself




Caryn Lazzuri is Exhibitions Manager at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC. Her essays and articles have appeared in Culinate and Museum, and her poetry has recently appeared in Beltway Quarterly. She earned an MFA from Emerson College and currently lives in Baltimore where she splits her time between art and books.


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