Smoking a cigarette on the patio of the two bedroom duplex you snagged for a steal. Your son is in jail and your daughter isn’t. Your purpose in life is divine in her pose, a little lonely, a tiny bit rudimentary, when you notice a pine cone has fallen and the last thing you’re thinking is religion or redemption or the power of intention yet here is this umbel, spiked irreducible thing , listing a little, toward its better side perhaps, among the ashes. Old crone of a mother, silly bat, behave!
Who am I without you?
A mosaic, an in-law who’s healthy
but has no money. A butcher’s widow.
A detail in the high rise window, a girl
written on a storage-room pillow,
initials in black ink on a white design.
A burst of color, jailhouse escapee,
parentless child, glass jar, patchwork,
cross stitch, pernicious refugee.
And how will you remember me?
By the empty meal pot, the cold bed,
the open window, quiet of the house.
Perhaps by the dead flowers in the vase
we bought, korean winds, empty spaces,
Lanes of gray, eyebrows raised on faces
we don’t know, dark hair, borrowers in
comfortable chairs, lost promises, lost
voices asking where.
Lisa Zaran is the author of eight collections including Dear Bob Dylan, The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl. She is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voice, currently in its twelfth year of publication. When not writing, Zaran works for a non-profit organization in Phoenix that serves individuals with substance use and mental health disorders.