What Matters by Lisa Zaran


It would be foolish of me to assume that a woman incarcerated
has done no wrong, yet here she sits in her stripes
that swim around her forlorn frame like organza,
pleasant as the cashier at my favorite neighborhood deli.

It would seem dangerous of me to approach this situation
with blind faith based on the notion that justice may
or may not have been served, whatever the case may be,
she is in jail.

There must be a preponderance of evidence somewhere.

It would be careless of me to place all my eggs in one basket
in regards to her impunity. I see by her shattered appearance,
social injustice or heresy, she is in custody. Forced to make
retribution, whether amendable or not. Not my place to say.

This is what I tell her: if life has taught me anything worth
listening to it is hope. I know what it feels like to lose it
and I know what it feels like to see a glimmer resurface,
like a buoy to heart in the body’s cold ocean.

About the Author: Lisa Zaran

LisaZaranBioLisa Zaran is the author of eight collections of poetry including Dear Bob Dylan, If It We, The Blondes Lay Content and the sometimes girl. She is the founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices. When not writing, Zaran spends her days in Maricopa county jails assisting women with remembering their lost selves.