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Lisa Zimmerman

The Fact that My Son Survived Covid in 2020 is Not Lost on Me

I didn’t hear the virus invade my son’s body

in March. I didn’t hear it attach itself with singular precision

to blood cells, vascular rivers. I didn’t hear my son groan

as he rolled over in his bed during the quarantined hours 

trying to sleep towards recovery, didn’t hear his small cat burrow

next to his aching back, couldn’t hear the creak 

of floorboards in the small apartment as my grown boy

stumbled like an old man to the kitchen for water.

After I called I didn’t hear him crying later on the phone 

with his sisters, unable to get a test, unable to smell or taste 

his food, unable to sit up on the couch to watch TV. And oh, 

forgive me, for not hearing the ancestors who survived the 1918 flu

padding around the apartment as they watched over him,

smoothing the sheets on his burning body, placing 

their cool hands on his forehead as I would have done

if I had been there. 

Memory of Blue

Blue ache in the ocean where the plane went down.

               Blue drape of my father’s uniform at the back of the closet.

                          Life’s blue pour into the birthing room.

                                 How blue sings the years in my grandmother’s hands.

                                          Blue cracking clouds apart after days of rain.

                                                   Blue cascade of light over my mother’s coffin.

                                                            The glinting blue thread in the days that followed.

Elegy for Eddie

Dying with your boots on. Who says that? Wars grind across landscapes far from here. They drag men and women, boots and all, to the grave. Eddie knew about the wars at home. He walked miles in other men’s shoes, loved those men until they could love themselves. And he died in his own time, clean and sober. There are days he comes back to us, not when wind careens off the frozen lake to tap windows with tiny flecks of ice. No, Eddie returns to us straight out of some paradise like his native New Orleans—with his gravelly voice, his big belly, and his bigger laugh, his chant It’s all about the love! returning when summer sun pours down on everything like luck, a thing he said looked a lot like grace. 

Lisa Zimmerman’s poems and short stories have appeared in many journals including Apple Valley Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, and Cave Wall, with new work forthcoming in Sweet: A Literary Confection, Hamilton Stone Review, and Minerva Rising. 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. Her poetry collections include How the Garden Looks from Here (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Award), The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press) and the chapbook Sainted, forthcoming in fall 2021 from Main Street Rag. She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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