Lisa Zou is a Mesa Community College student interested in creative writing. She has previously been published in the Paha Review.
Prologue of Eulogy
My mother taught me to swallow the truth, a pill to sedate
the red frustration, yet I cannot help but ponder how
even steadfast philistines profess your hollow cheek
bones a prototype of Pyrrhic art, as my vigils consist
of watching Malignant demolish your four once halcyon walls
with bleached grids of stethoscopes and therapy.
When aphasia robs you whole, languor settles
on your lips, stitching gossamer so precise,
definitions lose their meaning as you crumble.
Your coral cheeks defeat your own cells,
a serendipity, an upper hand, suppressing weeks
of weakness. Raindrops launder your agony-stricken
atria from the outside in. You won.
But I lied. Vestigial venom slithers through your figure,
sympathy cards stay sealed for eternity, simply
because poetry can describe the lovely smell of petrichor
after rain, but falters to illustrate the brutality of Malignant.
Mother never taught me how some truths are harder to stomach
Names Forgotten This Summer
When half the bed is unruffled,
you swallow cereal one piece
at a time. You’ll read the news
about Barbara and Beatrice and
Candy and Clarice finishing their own
marathons. As the clock inches toward
eight, you’ll run slide the subway card
and occupy your routine grey seat as
Ginny and Grace gossip about the new
girl with the tattoo of a dragon. At the
office, you hear Maria and Missy describe
the glorious trip to Rome. Open the door for
Veronica and Vicky. Except you never
notice Veronica or Vicky, so you hold
the door for a few seconds longer as only
air passes. You can’t find her.