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Lisa Zaran

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Do not be upset if I tell you

your love is a burden to me

and much too grounding.


I am not the calmest woman.

You could have chosen somebody else.


You tell me your love is endless

but time is running out.


The difference is not beginning,

it is already here,

rolling over everything.


I won’t point out the details.


I do not know what you see in me,

how loving me shapes your life.


My father once told me:

rise early, be a morning woman,

feel the sun begin, know

the light as it wakes the world.


Let your husband be responsible for night.


Keep quiet but know the language

of your conscience.

Tell the truth, go there.


Avoid darkness.

Leave midnight to your husband.


Become a domestic animal,

recognize the sound of a weak branch

as it crackles with the wind.

Prepare for storms, come well equipped,

head off disaster with charm.


Don’t tangle emotions.

Triumph in the first kiss of dawn.

Know your place.


It’s not your duty to understand politics.

Let your husband solve the problems

in the world.


Oh, but darling, my father was wrong.

Midnight comes peeping through the curtains

and I’m interested.


I don’t want to separate the light from the dark.

I want to endure the same tortures.

I don’t want to martyr.

I don’t want to make a soufflé.

I don’t want to languish in absent-mindedness.


I was lying awake in bed

as a full moon scraped its nails

against the window.


I went out to meet it.

Do not be upset when you wake up tomorrow

and I am not the same woman you married.


My father tried to prepare me

for love like yours.

Cloistered, run by a control panel, my mind

cut off, my soul broken away from me.


I was a girl who obeyed her father.

I am now a woman of flight.

Originally published in Mad Swirl, 2009, © Lisa Zaran