Richard Lee Zuras


Remember that early Autumnal evening in Colorado
Still light with fireflies, the air warm and sticky,
The two of us waiting for a table at a steak joint
With the bourgeois of Denver? Faces pressed
To the shop-glass, the un-inhabited sidewalk beckoning?

A shift of eyes, of bodies, pugnacious, and our group being
Found them—two beautiful women impossibly dressed,
Crossing the boulevard diagonally, their faces a shock
Of white-capped teeth and crimson lips, graceful,
Silence like a threat to our hungry eyes, bellies,  

As if the streets had been shut down for filming.
Do you remember wondering why no one spoke?
It was as if we had witnessed something we did not
Understand, something not seen in the three-dimensions
Of daily humdrum life. Beauty, undisturbed and obvious.

And then one man’s voice, in a whisper: call girls.
The hungry faces now blank, somehow uglier with pallor,
envy. Two beautiful women on their way
In the falling night, their images lingering in stranger minds,
Ready to tear into flesh when their number is called.

The Last Poem

You might begin by listing topics:
death, love, birth, shoes . . . .
Say you are sitting outside in a park,
birds alighting on nearby branches, Finches
make good poems, or the trusty Husky afoot.
This is it, though, the last poem,
so perhaps your first and life-long love
of music, the here and now, weekends
in your family music room, your wife
and son singing that Lumineers song,
the one about us belonging to one another.
The last poem becomes a poem about
a poem, essentially, being sung by people
you adore. Perhaps you choose absence,
your oldest son away at college, your folks
no longer on this side of life. Instead
you choose to sing: You place your pen
on top of your pad, close your eyes, sing,
completely aware no one can hear you. 

Richard Lee Zuras is the author of two novels and a recent collection of poems entitled Birds at the Post Office. His poems and stories have appeared regularly in literary journals for twenty-five years, and he is currently writing a textbook on creative writing. In addition to prose and poetry, Rich writes lyrics for his sons’ folk/rock duo Holden & the Dangers. Residing in northern Maine, Rich has worked as Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Maine at Presque Isle since 2001. 



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