photo of discarded grocery list on the ground

Two Poems by Jim Zola

(Please rotate your handheld device to landscape mode to provide maximum width for each line.)


I ignore the peeling trim, bare spots
on the lawn. A grocery list: beer,
detergent. No warm dinner waits.
I eat two bowls of Cheerios,
drink the last beer, step outside to smoke.
Stars blink. The dog paws the dirt and barks
at nothing. By morning, I practice
concern. Should I shave? What to say
when calling her work, her mother.
Nothing is missing. I look through her jewelry,
piles of papers, her poems. After
the third day, I know I’ll need to go
shopping. I imagine her sitting
in a stalled car in some foreign
neighborhood, lost. Lost in the desert
with sun parched lips, a bump on her head.
I call my mother to ask when
the laundry will be done.


Night’s blanket wraps us.

We whisper dinosaurs,
monsters singing like birds.

Out there, a dead planet
for each. What we know
could fit on a blade of grass.

What we don’t know is enough.

Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC

Lead image“Shopping list” (via Flickr user Jem Yoshioka)