At Once

What does a woman hope for
from her heart like a grave?
The city, a labyrinth of pavement,
flood of voices and footfalls,
the black streets groan.
The people ride elevators and escalators.
Drive cars, smoke cigarettes,
crow into cell phones while the promise
of shade dissipates.
Like a monkey I follow suit.

All the cities of the world
at once. The burden of everything
at once. Politics at once, war at once,
hunger at once, death all day long-
at once we must consult the past.
At once we must bargain on a future
and forget our losses.
In darkness, I return to my small room
where everything has its place, its reason.
Its carefully coded presence.
I lie in my bed until morning.

The Peregrine Muse

Lisa Zaran's picture

Lisa Zaran was born in 1969 in Los Angeles, California. She is an American poet, essayist and the author of seven collections including If It We, The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl, the latter of which was the focus of a year long translation course in Germany. Subsequently published to German in 2006 under the title: das manchmal mädchen. Selections from her other books have been translated to Bangla, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese, German, Dutch, Persian and Serbian. Her poems have appeared in hundreds of literary journals, magazines, broadsides, anthologies and e-zines

Last updated June 20, 2011