Bedlam in Heaven

How completely human
      that galaxies are moving
away from each other
      faster and faster.

Sad that star families squabble
      just like we on Earth
and loathe their galactic neighbors
      so intensely they can’t flee
fast enough, making even billions
      of light years apart still
too close.

      With all this chaos overhead,
why should I feel guilty
      for preferring solitude
to a dysfunctional universe,
      distancing from others
as they from me
      until nothing,
not even emptiness,
      remains . . . ?


Natural Drift

He leads his life,
I lead mine
, we shrug
and say to ourselves
to ease the hurt,
counting more empty
chairs as the family
takes inventory at weddings,
funerals, holiday parties
that used to bind us
together, but now pull
in the opposite direction,
sacred ties silently torn
apart by life’s erosion,
replaced by fresh faces
and loyalties.

We’ll make the phone call
of regret or send an e-mail
excuse, but other than a twinge
of guilt over telling a white lie,
eagerly turn to new friends
with relief as if reprieved,
certain that what we’re doing
anyone would understand.


To The Woman Who Knows Who She Is

What can I do
      to cast a spell on you,
make you toss and turn
as you do me,
make you leave that twit
      in black Armani with his
five o’clock shadow
      who never speaks
but whispers inanities
      leading you through
white-on-white galleries
      where the walls say
more than the art,
      a vision of your sterile
future unless you
      kiss me quickly
because I don’t have time
to squander–except for
sunflowers and laughter.


Diving Through Windows

First day, new term.
They sit frozen in
a semi-circle, serious as
Stonehenge monoliths on
carefully placed chairs,
subtly competing for my
favor, close enough for me
to guess their thoughts,
far enough away to evaluate
them evaluating me,
my clothes, my face, seeking
some clue to their shiny
futures and what this class
will offer them, while
I steel myself against
their youth and beauty,
playing the role of a staid
professor expected of me,

not like those unforgettable
few prankster teachers who
spoiled me forever, burning
through my life without a backward
glance or syllabus, brilliant
sociopaths in thrall to outlandish
theories, always being fired
for one infraction or another,
who gleefully tore open windows
that I never knew existed
and dared me to follow them
by diving through.

Saul Zachary’s poetry has been published in The New York Times, California Quarterly, Mobius, Poem, Taproot Literary Review, Pegasus, and many other publications. His plays, which have been widely produced in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and the U.K., are published by Brooklyn Publishers Inc. and have been included in The Best Short Plays series. He has won awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN American Center, New York State Creative Artists Program Service, CBS-TV, and garnered a Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Fellowship. He is a three-time winner of the Dubuque Fine Arts Players National One-Act Playwriting Contest. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts.