By Anca Segall

My losing heart’s a strange and wicked master.
So many men seemed filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss was surely no disaster.

Lost one or two, and finally, most. The fluster
of lost men, lost lovers, hours in sadness spent.
The losing heart was still a bitch to master.

I practiced losing every love, and lost it faster.
Each year, and every day, I dwelt on what I meant
to tell each one: that their loss was no disaster.

I lost the first one to another girl, in my youth,
then several in quick succession, until I mastered
the art of losing men with greater couth.

Yet despite couth, my losing heart was too poor a master
of loneliness that came of losing lovers sans intent.
Although my heart regrets their loss, still… no disaster.

And so, my dear, imagine the surprise I now hold
as, late in life, I learned love of a different sort.
My losing heart I have yet learned to master
and losing you, my love, would surely bring disaster.

Inspired by Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”


Born and raised in Romania, Anca Segall obtained her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Utah, where she also studied fiction writing. A microbiologist on the faculty at San Diego State University, Anca began writing poems in times of personal turmoil, then realized that microbiology and poetry share the close and precise observation of life—each offers unique ways to understand beauty. She has also collaborated with graphic artist Arzu Ozkal on creating microbial art.