©Moronic Ox Literary Journal - Escape Media Publishers / Open Books

"A Portrait of Life"
Lisa Zaran

When the body aches, for this moment
in despair or betrayal and the soul absconds
into the safety of its silence,
the sun still radiates.
Birds still clock the hours.

When wisdom fails to assert, in both mind
and muscle, when the critical and the crucial
moment arrives and you find yourself
lazy and tired,
with dewdrops on your eyelashes
and cobwebs stretching from the tip
of your nose to the edge of your toes,
moon light still reflects off damp streets.
The world still turns.

I've learned, have discovered, motion
even in the stillest of things.  Yet, I am still unlearned.
For isn't the newborn as wise as the dying man.
Here we raise a child up, up into our arms.
Here we lower a dead man down.
In between, our broken and ever breaking hearts.

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About the author: 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,

Lisa Zaran

They say it's the end.
This state of all becoming, dark-glittering
ceiling of stars, I'm supposed to believe them.

The world spins so fast.
A palette of color, enduring skyline held fast
by a sunset so natural and alluring, at times

I, too, feel aloft.  Breezes galloping high
in the trees where only the soft muzzle of birds
can feel them.  I'm supposed to believe

the world is coming to an end.  For years
they've been saying it, since as far back
as I can remember.  I'm going to die?

I asked my mother.  We're all going
to die, she said.  Hidden behind cupboard doors,
I was sure the world would not end

without coming to my rescue first.
The child's heart endures.  Years passed.
People came and went.  My father died.

The world was still spinning.  I realized
it isn't the world that's coming to and end,
it's us, the people and things in it.  The lilacs

and the earthworms, the pantyhose
our mothers used to wear and the starlings. 
Thunder and rain and blue lightning bolts.

Every chest that rises with breath, falls back
again into its concave dreams.  Seasons falter,
voices fade into the past, bones decay,

beauty melts away.  The earth still spins.

Apparatus Magazine, Hudson Review, Black Dirt, 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.
Lisa Zaran