Lisa Zimmerman

View from the Car Window


A brown and white dog is trotting down the sidewalk,

a small shepherd mix with a feathery tail. He’s clearly free

from the fetters of his ordinary life, to leap at bees

above a lavender bush, cross the neighbor’s fragrant lawn

to sniff the potted marigolds on the porch, then jog back

to the sidewalk, taking in scents along the sidelines. No one

whistles or shouts a name from the porch—

Rocky! Jango! Ezra!

He continues without penalty because the day is full

of grass and August sunlight, sprinkler run-off in the gutter

a creek to drink from, a place to wet his paws, pools

of shade beneath the ash trees cool as someone’s hand

stroking his head when he finds his way home. Soon,

or at least before dark.



Drought After Wildfires


Only two pale daffodils opened in April

So much brittle grass dead beside the lake

Last winter’s drought somehow eluded me

As I walked with the dog below a watery sun


So much brittle grass dead beside the lake

The water gray as iron almost every day

Walking the dog below a watery sun

We stood on the muddy shore slowly growing older


The lake gray as iron almost every day

Drought is a silence both above and below

We walked on the muddy shore and slowly grew older

There are so many lessons I’ve failed to learn


Drought is a silence both above and below

Invisible thief in the air and earth

There are so many lessons I’ve failed to learn

Only two pale daffodils opened in April



I Wish in the Forest Fire of Your Heart

After Robley Wilson


That I could be the river

where the herd of elk cross to safety

and the young firemen digging

long trenches ahead of the roar

and the hawk and the hummingbird

winging skyward.

I wish I could be

the rain cloud charging over

the smoking crowns of trees

to drop tears of relief

on the last smoldering flames.

 

Lisa Zimmerman’s poetry collections include How the Garden Looks from Here (Violet Reed Haas Poetry Award winner), The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press), and Sainted (Main Street Rag). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Redbook, The Sun, SWWIM Every Day, Cave Wall, Poet Lore, Hamilton Stone Review, and many other journals. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net, five times for the Pushcart Prize, and included in the 2020 Best Small Fictions anthology. She lives with her family in Fort Collins, Colorado.