Distance by Lisa Zaran

My mother makes diacritical marks
over the language of my heart:
acute, grave, double grave.

Twelve years old, I do not think
about blooming into a woman.
I only wonder where she is,

what her mood is like, whether
she’ll come home that night,
if there’s light at the party.

hook, horn, rough breathing.

Like any requirement I love her,
in vertigo, in run-down weekly’s,
riding shotgun in her hatchback

as she drives us out of town at 3 a.m.
hiding yellow hair beneath
a tie-dye kerchief.

macron, dot, circumflex.

At a rest stop once in coconino
county, just shy of sheep gulch spring
she betrayed intimacy.

I was waiting for her, like always,
seated on the hood, my back
against the windshield,

her, scooting up beside me,
a cigarette between her lips.
On the inhale, short and quick

she pointed out Gemini, the twins.
On the exhale, she said: that’s us.
Which was and still is the closest

exclamation of love I’d ever received.
My heart festooned there,
white tiger, vermillion bird.

A laurel of hope, promise with the sound
of wild horses, want as white
as the moon, every bone glowing.

ring, comma, inverted breve, smooth breathing.

About the Author: Lisa Zaran

LisaZaranBioLisa Zaran is the author of eight collections of poetry including Dear Bob Dylan, If It We, The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl. She is the founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices. When not writing, Zaran spends her days in Maricopa county jails assisting women with remembering their lost selves.

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