put that old man down..
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New Poems
by Lisa Zaran



Why I Love Old Men


They're enchanting and smell like tobacco.

They're self-possessed and know life is a garden.

No roses.  Some rhubarb perhaps, a few carrot

heads.  Potatoes.


I love old men because they wait for their old wives

on benches while she grocery shops.


Because they play with their beards.

Because they are patient to a fault

and can observe the asylum of living for decades

with milky eyes, jaws limp, hearts halted at 5 a.m. sharp.


I love old men for their indifference

as much as their opinion.


I love especially how they care for the old woman

by their side, never once thinking, they too are old.

I love them for how much they know yet find contentment

in a cup of coffee, an afternoon stroll.


I love old men because they do not weigh their burden,

bury their investments.  It's just life, both brutal and remarkable


at once.  I love old men because they watch the news

and can proliferate from their warmest chair, every brilliant

idea, thick and engraved, one arm fist-lifted, the other

cradling a grandchild.



a line, (a short blue one)


The Day We Knew the World Was Coming to an End but Didn't


My mother was working the swing shift as a nurse

at Saint Joseph's hospital either measuring output

or shifting the dials of a respirator.


My father immersed in his workshop, repairing

the broken bones of a typewriter or counting

his collection of shot-gun shells.


The sky was a lid about to blow off.  The wind

was an unmeasurable force rattling the windows

of our trailer in Ridgecrest.


My sisters and I agreed:  it's hard to be good

and follow the rules when the world is ending.

We huddled, the three of us, under our make-shift


bed-sheet tent in the living room.  We ate forbidden

food:  ice cream and cereal, pop tarts and spoons of

peanut butter.  We prayed, clasping our hands together


meditation style.  We bowed our heads between

sips of cola.  We lit candles.  We believed.




a line, (a blue one)


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