David Robert Books




Ordering Information: Bookstores and Individuals


Course Adoption



Follow Us on Facebook

Copyright © 2000-   WordTech Communications, LLC

Privacy Policy

Site design: Skeleton

Sample Poems by Zara Raab


In the hollows of lightning-struck trees,
deep in the forest of the Weotts,
the fathers ran their stills when you were
still a boy by the cold-running Eel;
they hid the cucurbit of berries,
the mash of scented, fermenting grain,
and lit their secret flames below, then
by every hook and crook jury-rigged
a rick for aging the casks of gin.

Blessed be these makeshift alembics
passed down to you--all else there was oath
and curse, every half breath a "damn it,"
or "hell," so thank God, thank the Scotsman
for the waters of life that cleanse you,
the usquebaugh, the bourbon whiskey,
raw as salt searing the quenched throat,
turning to vapor all troubles,
de-fanged an evening and slow-content.

Old Sally James

Born in a thimble of rye,
sloshed and hung out to dry,
I live a life, transpires
in its own blessed time,
fermenting in me
this brew of poetry.

Easy I slip into sleep,
drowsy in the dyer's heat.
That or I'm all a-startle,
my ideas abstract,
missing the simplest fact,
at odds with rational acts.

With a curve in my spine,
I tumble walleyed
in love, sock in a dryer,
rushing, getting nowhere,
cycling in regular loads,
hot to warm, cool, cold.

My yen's a trunnion,
carriage loaded and wrung.
I can't go home 'cause
my taw's disappeared,
my only means there
a red-nosed reindeer.

Before boarding

you'll shoulder your duffle at twilight,
Father's overcoat stiff on its hook,
Mother's knotted scarves tucked in their drawers,
the house on its lot, the clothes, the books--
left behind save the serifs shelved in your throat.
You'll cast yourself out onto the waters,
not asking the destination or route.
In your mind you'll touch in silence each stone
weighting the customs abandoned at port,
and row when asked, and always with effort.
To your captain, offer salutation,
and quiet the willful, mutinous thought.
But for the stars shining through a breach,
doubtless, you'll come ashore in darkness,
soft lapping of water against the beach.

Taking Sides

Young as we were, our contests
went to the edge of the known world.
There we did not trip and tumble
from hard court to abyss,
but found the earth to be a globe
any boy agile at tennis
might navigate and hold.

On courts fenced by wire and spruce
behind the gabled house
we volleyed back and forth;
all summer we took our sides--
glare of sun or bruise of shade--
tight-strung rackets raised, on guard
for what came our way.

Dressed in the same clean white
that set out of bounds in paint,
the lanky boy opposite,
the enemy-opponent,
hit with ease the fast ones I slammed
across the court to him
till sunlight came slant at last.

He was the foe-in-friend
we would not permit to win
by missing an easy lob
or staggering where we stood;
though after add-ins, score in,
we liked to see whoever won
shake a sweaty palm and grin.

Oh, we all exalted in winning!
Each of us felt a keen chagrin
contemplating a loss;
each knew quite well which side was his,
wanting the impossible--
the contest our manifesto
recited in the muscle.