Poetry by Lisa Zaran


Hardly an hour passes
I don’t think about my father.
God’s little sing-song voice
whispering curse words
in my virginal ear.

Nightly, his melody flashes.
Dreams I’ve had
where I look so hard
but can only see mountains,
forest, darkness.

Suppose the soul takes off
like a mind on some mournful
drug, where purple grasses
swell and bend, the sky vertebrates,
and memories get pinned
like flowers to the side of a highway.

What then?

Is it reasonable to suspend
the splendor of life with the brilliance
of dying? I imagine this question
as indecipherable as asking:
do mirrors blush

when I know it is only a reflection.


The Girl, Declined

Brute, our father called you. Afternoon
and the sun keeps forsaking us, drawing its monster
tongue down our backs.

Mr. Drew, the neighbor, comes home from work
in his beat up oldsmobile, smoking his last cigarette
and winking.

We joke about calling child protective services.
Sissy, our brother called you. Just then, you spied
his crack pipe and he swiftly rebuffed,

promising you two dollars when he got paid.
Nobody listened when you came home bruised
and bleeding from the park.

Love is not beastly, the school counselor said.
We, each of us alone, knowing, his behavior
toward you was full of diseases

we couldn’t name.


About Lisa Zaran

Arizona-based Lisa Zaran is an American poet, essayist and author of six poetry collections, including The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl, the latter of which was the focus of a yearlong translation course in Germany and was subsequently published in German, titled das manchmal mädchen.  Her work has also been translated into Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, German, Dutch, Persian and Serbian.  Her poems have appeared in hundreds of publications, including Juked, Ramshackle Review, Apparatus Magazine, Hudson Review, Black Dirt, Other Voices, Kritya, The Dande Review, Soul to Soul, Nomad’s Choir Poetry Journal, Not a Muse Anthology, Best of the Web 2010, Literature: an intro to Reading and Writing by Pearson.  Additionally, her work has been performed in Glasgow’s Radio Theater Group and displayed in the Belgian museum, SONS.  Lisa is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices.

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