Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lisa Zaran

A Dream of My Brother
~for Robert John

I love to drive, he said
as he came crawling toward me
across a desert floor, burrs in both of his knees,
a dead star caught in his long, gray hair.

I feel used, he said,
and old as usual.
I believe I’m at the height of my existence.

At once exhausted, he lays himself at my feet.
I begin combing the nests out of his hair.
Scraping the dirt away from beneath his fingernails.
Kissing his sad and lonesome cheek.

His breath comes in white gusts of wind,
snowflakes fill the air.

*previously published in The Blondes Lay Content, 2006

What You Should Do

When happiness turns
a metallic shade of green,
and suddenly music
of a simpler green
begins to antelope past,
think of a marching band,
think of the archbishop in
all of us going out of his way
to find a new home, as he
turns his sufficiency toward eternity,
just think of the word sensation
and see where it takes you.

*previously published in in Snakeskin - #124

Talking To My Father Whose Ashes Sit In A Closet And Listen

Death is not the final word.
Without ears, my father still listens,
still shrugs his shoulders
whenever I ask a question he doesn't want to answer.

I stand at the closet door, my hand on the knob,
my hip leaning against the frame and ask him
what does he think about the war in Iraq
and how does he feel about his oldest daughter
getting married to a man she met on the Internet.

Without eyes, my father still looks around.
He sees what I am trying to do, sees that I
have grown less passive with his passing,
understands my need for answers only he can provide.

I imagine him drawing a breath, sensing
his lungs once again filling with air, his thoughts ballooning.

*previously published in The Rose & Thorn, Summer 2004


Perhaps we do not have to
measure out our falling years
with quasi-nostalgic minds
and homely gestures-
as if our lives were one tremendous joke.

The next generation arrives
riper than us with thicker bones
and stronger teeth-
while we sit in waiting rooms
counting bruises, signing
power-of-attorney forms
in the event things take a turn
for the worse.

To simplify our new existence
we purchase pill boxes, i.d. bracelets.
The graveyard reaches out a hand in longing.
Though some nights we consider it,
we're never sure.† Never ready.

Suppose it is just these glasses
we're wearing that make everything
appear blurry.† They were supposed to help
but now, we can't even read the writing
that scrolls across the bottom of the screen
during the evening news.

In fact, we do not know when
or if the war will end,
the weather will change,
or night will descend upon us
like a dark, woolen blanket.
It used to be that sixty was old,
now its the marker for career change.

As the diurnal moon passes overhead-
we remove our cotton nightshirts,
toss our orthopedic slippers out the door.
We rush crooked fingers through gossamer hair.
We stand, fully unclothed in the center
of our yards, believing even in old age
we are beautiful.

I and I

I am twelve.
My sister is eight
almost nine.
I am the kind of girl
who keeps quiet.
So is my sister.
I bury my arms
in a tub of water.
My sister is bathing.
My downy arms.
My sister.
Like two sad fish
lost to the current.
She will never collapse.
Not my sister.
Not without me.

*previously published in The Blondes Lay Content, 2006


Roswila said...

That first dream poem is amazing!

And I love Aging (being an elder myself), especially that last stanza.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting. Chilling.
I wouldnt have put a period after "bathing".