Street of No Return

by Carla Sarett


We hadn't lived long enough to lose
much except directions

when we stole the word
off a street sign in L.A.

What the word meant

Beyond the lost-ness, the sad-ness
of strip malls. Off the freeway, the L.A.

of Chinatown. We'd seen it twice
in one long hot afternoon.

Dead Mrs. Mulray in white,
that trumpet solo, sweet and vacant.

What the word means

Place of the Old Woman.
The Tongva language, the tribe, gone

That place, those ruins,
we could never imagine.

Tujunga. So close to the crimes,
endless dead-ends.

Carla Sarett is a poet and fiction writer based in San Francisco. Her novel, A Closet Feminist, was published in February 2022 (Unsolicited Press) and She Has Visions, her debut poetry collection, is slated for November (Main Street Rag Publishing). New poems appear in Quartet, Pithead Chapel, Thimble and Mono.