Lisa is another founding co-editor of Kakalak, a Journal of Poetry and Art, and I met her when I first submitted. I was then fortunate enough to belong to the same poetry critique group with her for a few years.
Lisa is one of the most down-to-earth, relaxed women I’ve ever met. In all the years I’ve known her, I’ve rarely seen her without this beautiful smile.
Her poetry is just as genuine, conveying much in so few words. She often brings the world of science into her poems, noticing the beauty of the natural world around her. She shows us the tiny details that we might otherwise miss, making her lines and poems richer. And we, too, for having read them.
From Heart of the Light, published by Finishing Line Press, posted with the poet’s permission.
The Night the Moon Landed
I see it now, flung up in the night
the size of a quarter, maybe a nickel.
Those summer evenings we played late
until street lights hummed on,
until constellations of fireflies lit our lawns,
live stars caught in our hands. My friend
Mindy, thin as a twig, the best
runner. We ran in utter yes. Without
a pebble of doubt, we ran
towards that glow at the end of the road.
Not the familiar man’s face
full of dull surprise, but craters
close enough to touch. We knew
it was possible for mankind
to walk on the moon. One small
step at a time. Our flip-flops flapped
and someone laughed – a man, some dad.
You can’t, he said, you couldn’t, you shouldn’t
We ran one block, maybe two,
our shoes soon heavy as lead-lined boots.
Last I remember, we were breathless
in the dark, the moon bright before us. Fools
for the celestial illusion.
Is it soup, the slow
meld of flavor into flavor?
Melt butter you churn
from a cow you milk.
Dice onion you grow
from seed. Simmer.
Or a recipe from Julie Child
longer than her 22 pages
devoted to French bread.
Measure flour by sundial, butter
by tree rings, and salt by the jeweled
gears of an antique Swiss watch.
Patient handcraft might be closer,
a life-size cross stitch of Times Square.
Knitting lace. Inking illuminated
texts. The chink of copper chisel
on Giza’s capstone in the quarry.
Ask the Hittites, the Mayans, Olduvai man
creeping out from the Gorge. Ask the spiders
for centuries of silvered silk. Ask the whales
after they lose their legs. Or the snakes
before they gain them.
Find the steps in stilled liquid.
Arctic ice cores. Ambered pine
sap. In the curve of a river-carved canyon.
Carbon aged into diamond. Or
stalagmites stacked by the steady
drip of minerals.
If I could whip up a batch of lumpy
moments, I’d share this sweet
present with you. Trace
together the singular plunge
of comet through cosmos.
Like a Ship in a Bottle
A ship in a bottle
is a real ship although not
one fit for life at sea.
Unmoored from any harbor,
it sits unmoved
by currents, removed
from news of life outside.
fresh from foreign shores
or drunken compatriots
to help weather the storms.
No gulls plead
overhead, their cries
dulled by glass walls.
There is only this dust
this airless enclosure.
There is only
the bottle, the bottle,
the bottle collecting,
as one might coins
from travels, dust that falls
like parched rain.
And somehow Lisa and I didn’t connect on her answers to my questions! I’ll post them later.