Five Poems. By Lisa Zaran.
It's difficult to imagine myself
ten years ago, framed in
of room 201, Maryvale Hospital, ICU,
my fathers body on the
bed, the sheet
pulled up and folded over at his chest.
resting amicably at his sides, a position he never would have chosen had he
actually been asleep.
He preferred tossing his arms above his head, ankles
crossed left over right, steady snore.
I remember I approached the bed,
all the time looking
closely at his face, then his chest, for signs of breathing, thinking maybe the
nurse is wrong, maybe he hasn't died afterall. I touch his hand. Still warm.
I touch his cheek, still bristly with growth and I know how being unshaven
might upset him.
And isn't it strange how hair still grows even as a man is
dying? Eyes still shed tears, teeth and hair still need brushing.
It took a moment for me to recognize the quiet.
Gone was the
whoosh of the respirator, gone were the clicks and alarms, the steady drip of
intravenous fluids. And mostly, my father's discomfort. The expression of
active control, not wanting to upset me, he'd mouth the words, I'm okay
sweetheart. And I would pretend he was.
You told me you were sorry but you weren't sorry.
busy and I was too but I was also willing to give up everything just to see
you, spend some time with you, talk and catch up. It had been two years and you
were my father. I was sixteen and lonely.
You were living off the money you made at swapmeets.
I was a
junior in high school. My grades were average, your income was low. Your house
was a tent in the woods.
Mine was a single family home with my mother and
stepfather, two sisters, one brother and a few pets.
It's times like now I wish things had been different.
those opportunities for us to simply wake up and make a new relationship,
tragically lost. I open my eyes now to a fatherless world and I miss you. Now,
in my thirties there are so many things I want to know, wish I could ask.
~October 22, 2006, San Diego Cox Arena
Coolness in hand, you amble across the stage.
The crowd goes
crazy. I go crazy. Jumping
up and down as though I've got springs
on my soles, so happy
to see you, thrilled
really to be part of the show. You, in your top hat and dark
coat, heart crushing walk
so delicate across the stage floor. The limelight doesn't
startle you, the crushing crowd with
their generous shouts of hello and I love you.
front of me is a young couple.
It's obvious the man is the fan. I know this in how the woman
looks up to him, beaming,
happy to see he is happy. The three guys in the row behind me
and my sister know
I am the fan. They laugh everytime I scream.
One touches my
shoulder and I turn to see
what he wants. Big Dylan fan? He asks, smiling.
on my face says yes.
One of the songs I've got a connection with begins.
into the mike, squint your gracious blue eyes
If Not for You
~If not for you, babe, I couldn't find the door,
couldn't even see the floor, I'd be sad and blue,
if not for you.
I loved you so much
when everyone else
had pretty much
tossed you out of their hearts
You have to understand,
they wanted to move on
their lives, you
were an encumbrance.
It wasn't that they didn't
love you, they just didn't
know how to love you,
didn't know how to act
during your inevitable descent,
a man like you,
a man with your individual language,
your mysterious absolutes.
I loved you so much
that I was bound to you
and there is
nothing to regret.
I have always submitted to love
and you were never a
on my lips.
I Hope You Know
through the particulars
I smile at you
above my scarf
as you balance
two cups of coffee
and a cheese danish
It's been raining
Everybody is talking
Most rain we've seen
...yeah, but the desert
sure could use it.
You set our
on the table,
run back to the counter
What I wouldn't
do for you,
I hope you know.