width=61 height=87> Voracious Verses
Winter / Spring, 2012


Lisa Zaran
featured poet

The following poems are from Lisa Zaran's book If It We (Lummox Press, 2012). This amazing collection guides the reader through a Mother's journey into her son's battle with addition. Zaran opens the window to a better understanding of how addiction impacts people and the ones who love them. The collection reveals how a heart can be pulled in an at least a thousand ways--going at times beyond comprehension into the depths of the unsayable, yet somehow spinning into something remarkably cognizant, recognizable as truth.


First there is the notability of right.
Wrong is just an afterthought,
a stone's throw from oblivion.

Tomorrow may come
as no surprise.  Yesterday may flake
off its chapped skin.

Demise is akin to forgetfulness
as remembering is akin to pain.
My son is addicted to heroin.
 2012 Lisa Zaran

(to be read frantically, in whispers)

December is saying how much it hates the snow.
Can't be bothered, as it reduces its body to weeks,
to day then dwindles down into hours.

I sit on the stoop, holding my breath and study
the world, taking in little, making the best of it,
counting minutes like any good girl should.

Birds, like little honkey-tonk Christmas ornaments,
flit from tree to tree.  I smile for all I'm worth
as if a girl from the trailer park can suddenly find
herself sitting on a park bench in Paris.

This is the end of the world.
 2012 Lisa Zaran


If you'd told me
from the very beginning
the worst was yet to come

but how could you know

and it was I who grew 
more restless, more afraid
with each passing day

watching you in your harried 
state, flailing about, shaking
from withdrawal.  dying

literally, dying right before 
my eyes and happy as
a clam when you were high

The disquiet of you
in your dependency.  Was I
nothing more than a halogen

light, a grace-note at the end 
of a terribly long night, a beacon
that somehow exceeds and endures

for better or for worse.
These are the vows spoken at weddings.
They should really be spoken

at birth by both mother
and child, and held aloft
by the strictest fray from God.

I always was, what the good life
told me, a mother of bad things
for two long years

and I think how the apple
has fallen from the tree,
only to be picked up by dealers,

carried off.  I still believe
a heart is hidden only behind
a window.  I smash yours open

and make a prognosis.
He will live.  But first, he must choke
on the song of recovery.
 2012 Lisa Zaran


Love grows bold.
A little fugue.
A man hanging from the turnpike
bridge.  Saturated gold, an aluminum
coat on everything old.
And it's time.

It's time to put this whole dumb life
to use.

Like a foot without toes,
I walk with the knowledge of boots,
steel-toed and confident.

My mother would be proud.
My father might tap my shoulder one
two three times with the palm
of his weather-beaten hand.

Good job girl.  good job.

I pick my graces carefully.
I take cold wind as an impetus
to carry on.  I thwart no passion,
gather little dust, learn from those
with something to teach.

I smoke myself.  Miles away,
a highway gets stoned.
 2012 Lisa Zaran


How do I begin to heal
what so many consider 

or round any corner
without feeling fear,
the monster standing there

wearing my son as mask.
As Martin Luther King Jr.
asked, where do we go from here?

We go where we want,
I can picture you saying.
Smoking cigars and tipping
our hats to passing strangers.

If I have any notions left
about forgiveness, let me spy
them in your smile, sober
as the day your were born.

 2012 Lisa Zaran

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