By Lisa Zaran:
does the world
not fall into my lap.
And if God
were to send me
a private message,
would I react?
possibly not knowing,
reluctant in every passing
holding the weight
of every word spoken
in the palm of my hand,
looking into the not-so-distant
future of every gesture
as if behind each
was a guise
or a secret.
might go terribly wrong.
the world falls
into my lap
and every day
I’m afraid to touch it
frightened of what it might bring.
FROM BRIDE TO BURIED
It is a chorus, her mother thought
when she was born, a fragile lilt
of voices singing rise rise rise
as if her daughter were already a myth.
She was a knowledgeable child,
too trusting perhaps but never flighty,
no never that. Her center could always
grasp what her mind could not.
She learned very early to trust
her body, its rhythms and advice.
She being an only child, grew with the speed
of those shown to know everything
in corresponding order.
This is your nose, see, touch it.
These are your feet. Soon you will walk.
Out there, beyond this window, is the world.
Which is also a perception.
See that tree over there? Could be
a madman standing in utter stillness
in the breach of night. Shhhhh.
The earth is tired now. The moon is up.
Lock the door, fasten the windows.
Sleep and dream of every possibility.
For beyond this childhood you will meet
a man and fall in love. He will ring you out
of yourself. He will convince you that
you are not yours but his and at the apex
of your dependency where hands and hammers
become one in the same blunt instrument,
he will strike you again and again and again.
To seek your remains, I will pass my fingertips
over your picture. I will try to remember
the scent of your breath, your intangible life.
(“Reticence” and “From Bride to Buried” were originally published in A Little Poetry. Both poems are reprinted here today with permission from the poet.)
Lisa Zaran was born in 1969 in Los Angeles, California. She 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. Subsequently published to German in 2006 under the title: das manchmal mädchen. Selections from her other books have been translated to Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, German, Dutch, Persian and Serbian. Her poems have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, magazines, broadsides, anthologies and e-zines 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 as well as being performed in Glasgow’s Radio Theater Group and displayed in SONS, a museum in Kruishoutem, Belgium. Lisa is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, an online collection of poetry by American poets. She is also the author of Dear Bob Dylan, a collection of letters to her muse. She lives and writes in Arizona.
Editor’s Note: Today’s poems give the reader food for thought. The first is, in my reading, a contemplation of the idea of outside forces, who or what is in control of our lives, and the responsibility we as humans have to do what we can with the opportunities and responsibilities laid in our laps. The second is a darker piece, almost cryptic, following the life of a woman from girlhood and the protection of her family home to adulthood and the abusive relationship that ends her life. Both poems are highly successful in their ability to make the reader think, perhaps outside the box of the reader’s normal thinking, and contemplate ideas and worlds that may or may not be their own.