Lisa Zaran

Remind Me of Beautiful Things

One day I'll know the answer.
What to do when my son says
I'm sick, please help.

I won't mutate into silence.
I won't translate into roses
past their season. I won't

scream at the ceiling
like an open wound no one
can hear but me.

Grapes too, lose their ballet.
I've seen cantaloupes appointed
to a kitchen cupboard

only to lack interest in the buyer,
wither and smell.

I'm changing my colors.
I won't collapse into unloved fruit
when my son cries.

I won't die at the sound
of his touch or yelp.
I may wake to find the nectar

of his childhood abundant
on my lips once more.
If so, let his descent acute

into darkness, let his explicitness
for life abrupt into feast.
Here, we find the things we crave.


All That is Certain

I love that our secrets
have come to surface.

I love you being the child
and me the adult at the same time.

I love that you feel able
to slice me with your untended

so abrupt and full of fragility.
Moments erupt like tragedies,

one volcano after another.
We, on the other hand, do not.



I feel prohibited
from letting go.

My son is a rake.
Wooden handle,
iron fork.


Here I Am, Another Woman

I'm beyond calculation.
I try to act attentive.
I pretend to care.
I build another unnecessary bone
to protect myself from unannounced
assault. A glaring eye, an unnerving,
imposing body, a sign of illness.
What muscles I have go slack.
I approach looking for signs.
Hate myself for being
overly attached.


A Price Worth Paying

Today, like every day, I wake
in my own presence, sometimes
deaf or faint. Humble as a hair strand
of sunlight commanding space in the room.

Inside of me there are countless birds
vying for a branch. Dry leaves bristle.
Abandonment tries to throttle the driest
choke out of me. My security is a sort

of sadness which brings comfort
and a sense of familiarity. I find support
in the essence of morning. I climb rung
after rung of hope, which I find

in the tiniest of things, a thin bloom
on the rosebush, the smell of coffee.
The child inside of me waits. The child
inside of me states: I try and I try and I try.



Lisa Zaran is an American poet, essayist and the author of seven collections including If It We, The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl,
the latter of which was the focus of a year-long translation course in
Germany. Selections from her other books have been translated into
Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese and Greek. She is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, an online journal of poetry.

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