Poetry by Tara Isabel Zambrano

 My grief, you’re a body of comfort

I rest in the crook of your arms, my fists
beat on your hollow chest as the sun splits
our skin, few words a boat between us,
mostly salty nothings.

I can feel the edge of your mouth, the charred corners
of your faded face. You have blue eyes. 
They turn brown when I sob and mark the sidewalk
with The Moody Blues.

I walk on the dirt roads, sleep under the broken streetlamps.
You pick the dirt under my fingernails, eye the dripping faucets
and overdue laundry with a certain fondness.
It reminds me of John, slicked black hair, an American icon
selling Life Insurance until the day he died.

I try to coax you with a warm glass of milk, a bag of chips. 
Nurse a cheap Beer. Together, we watch the sun
burst into a thousand stars, adjust our eyes to free porn, 
go to  the Goodwill Store, look for a dress that fits us
like an oh-so-good lover.


An emptied lemon

The tumor in my father’s head is my twin,
a body pulled from the synapses
going up and down like empty elevators.

No words in his mouth, only loosened teeth,
his mind an emptied lemon,
the same way I lay after making love
that is more like fighting a war.

While his cancer metastasizes, turns him
into a bleeding body, the fist of my heart
pushes the skin away as if
it cannot beat anymore.


Somewhere in the bright green feathers
of the cypress, the badgering cicadas fill the air -
your high-strung laughter
touches the monsoon drenched lilies
that refuse to die.
A bouquet of flaming clouds swim over our
leaking roof as we make love
for the seventh time.
In time, you fade like a dying star, 
the dust of memories fill the bedroom
and nothing is left except
your broken wristwatch
steel-cold clouds and suffocated lilies.

The evolution of an end

other night a full moon bloomed in me -
an urge so fierce to scratch my nails on
a soft fabric of breath.

my feet descended into the womb of wind, 
my frame a bright knife
in the plate of night.

I thought of the time when you
stopped by after we broke up:
a vow of separation disintegrated,
love was conceived over strife,
without the debris of a relationship.

later in hollow rings of smoke,
we plucked words, cut
our tongues and said goodbye

like a new moon, fulfilling the chill
we are ready now,
to begin bruising again.

spring, the elegy

At twelve, she bled, 
then came the grainy wetness – 
odd smell of spices, nest of eggs, 
the sprouting seeds, the saplings, 
brought it on unknowingly,
she wondered at nature's hoot of victory
when the rain came down.
Then she met a boy with flickering eyelids -
the one who danced and told her
he'd gotten weird too;
ashamed they talked,
played and pretended to love each other,
and when he died, nature turned into
an odorless, barren oaf;
wetness crumbled into exigent pendulum,
everything else remained the same.


Tara Isabel Zambrano lives in Texas. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Moon City Review, San Pedro River Review, The Healing Muse, Hayden's Ferry Review and others. She moved from India to the United States two decades ago and is an Electrical Engineer by profession.


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