The Girls
by Lisa Zaran


Emily
reclines
like a little
broken love
song.

Anne Sexton
steps
from skin
into grace,
hair falling
behind
like diaphanous
satin.

Hilda,
our littlest
orphan,
finally finds
a home
in the long dream
of oceans.

Sylvia Plath
stirs
the foliage
of her mind
into a to ta lly
new design
where petals drop
like dew
and dead kittens
curl up in jars.

Phillis Wheatley
gets her
intimations
from a plum
to catch us
all off guard
at last.

The girls
gather together
in the great
room of true
despair.

Gates of heaven
protect them
and all their
words,
which fall through
decades of language
sound
like small arms
spinning
through air

and then
there is their
laughter,
a lullaby of birds
flying out
of their mouths,
quietness, quietness, quietness
are the wings flapping.





       Joy
by Lisa Zaran


How little it pretends
to know me.

One flick of the wrist
and it's gone.

Why speak of joy?
When from one margin

to the next is only language,
each letter clinging to the one

beside or behind. I'd like
to see someone transverse

this problem called joy.
Perhaps in color or when

the light is still warm enough
to ripple like a reflex

across the blinds.
Joy is dead.

Take me back
to the basement.




       Three Little Love Poems
by Lisa Zaran


This is the year and the day and the hour
we closed our lids and turned our shoulders
and never kissed again.

If you called me tomorrow I'd come
and bring my whole body with me, every
strand of hair on my head and all my soul, tingling.

My heart, unseen, how could you forget?
Has kept its course and should live on
for awhile yet. I'd bring it too, bleeding.

*

Sometimes love
grinds its way
down a buried
track
like a relic
from days
past
you can almost
hear the whistle
if it weren't
for the wind
whipping
over
mountains
too far off
to get a good
look at
but
here it is
and there is love,
too, keeping time
turning its rusty
wheels
through dusty
towns
and all the people
behind windshields
get frustrated
when the arm
goes down
to let love
churn through town.

*

It isn't that my heart
forgets to act.

You're wrong again.

I know how love
will stand waiting

for years on end,
in midair

and will be reborn
perpetually.

No dark circle
can abide

love's inventory
nor grow so old

it will lose its teeth
and hair. Gentleness

survives even in
the worst conditions.

So let us preserve
a smile, a soft phrase,
a heartbeat

in all its divine precedence,
I haven't forgotten.

You're wrong again.




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

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