Jim Zola – Four Poems


The Trees Spark Wicked Rumors

my wife says there there
touches her temple

nothing’s between us
except ornaments
of air
like miniature books
the music
of our breathing

I have forgotten the simplest prayer

the woods behind this house
on fire with crows

Ode to a Ball Peen Hammer

Lord give me something to pound.
Never mind the promise
of grommets, the gentle prayer of sharpening stone.
I want to tap rivets on their heads,
to connect, to finish.


How is it there are moments we hold
forever and others that go

quicker than the sulfur whiff
of a put out match. Who decides?

I want that job. To say
who will remember the mole

on a lover’s shoulder
twenty-five years ago,

but forget her name, that you
will forget the way your mother’s

voice sounded when she laughed,
but will remember the way

her hair smelled once during a fever
when she leaned over you

and said something you don’t
remember, something about lemons.

Hand Basket

The kitchen table is cluttered

with red paper, glue, tissue,
glitter. My daughter tells me
about her boyfriend, how she loves him

but sometimes he bothers her
too much. I remember crushes
that made my teeth chatter,
where my senses were mussed

by miss charm-of-the-hour.
It didn’t matter that she
couldn’t hear the strafe and rattle
that tore me apart. Just as it

doesn’t matter to my daughter
that the world is going to hell
in a hand basket, as long
as it’s full of cut paper hearts.


Author’s Statement on Beauty

I was walking with my wife on the beach and she was taking pictures of the sun and waves. On the sand, I stumbled upon a dead fish, half eaten. And to me, that was the most beautiful thing I saw on the beach. So I took a picture of it. And my wife, knowing my odd sense of beauty, just laughed.


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