Lisa Zaran

Lisa Zaran is an American poet, essayist and the author of six collections including The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl, the latter of which was the focus of a year long translation course in Germany.  She is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, an online journal of poetry.  She lives and writes in Arizona.


The morning surprises me. Sun sneaking in past stars to dissolve the morning web
of cotton mouth and the long shadow of love. Figure it's a sign. Through the window
where all language sits like dew to touch the soft rise of my lover's shoulder. I hear
his heart beat walking away like a man with an external life. Perhaps he is dreaming
of long roads sided with abandon, roots he cannot tame and tiny bearded flowers the result
of self-absorption. I, too, feel oppressed sometimes. Tomorrow night I shall dream of boots.


He is shut, shadows and confidence. The feeling of nothing definite or infinite.
A still, burning patience, silence that lacks direction, far off with other thoughts,
other things to worry about. I remember the migratory feeling of growing up.
Recall slight notions of dejection, the slow unease of existence as he smoked his last
snuff of the day. Pipe, papa, recliner, evening news. Children should be seen and not heard.
I hardly knew the house I lived in. I came from a city of imagination.


Scent of lime
when mother comes in.

Bubble baths, soft music.
Despair so infinite it could

be named: door between us.
Tiptoe down the hallway to my room.

Lie in bed and try to recover
from the fever of my birth.


Yes, it's real. All the pain of memory
whether accurate or fictional. The sun
sets on me, blinding my emotions.
I'm troubled, blanched, misunderstood.
My heart feeds on some far off horizon.
My body is just another noise in the dark.


What do I call him?
This man who is my son.
Eighteen now and joyless.
Heroin, his contract with death.

To be reduced, as I have been,
by anguish. A conscious despair
that sits in my chest like a stone,
the weight of the universe

upon me. It's inconceivable
to reflect on his future demise.
Son, I say to him, look at me.
He turns his head the other way.


I'm not sure what to make of fate, how to live a long time without killing myself.
My comprehension is oftentimes clumsy. How to act in the face of adversity.
What to wear when the lights come on. Who to ask. Without my knowing,
where I'm going. If love is real or just an act, a game devised by minds who
see everything through panes of beveled glass. Whether the touch of my feet
on soil is sensitively akin to the top of my head knocking on stars.

Copyright 2010 Lisa Zaran