Mariano Zaro
        Originally from Spain, Mariano Zaro has been living in this country and writing in both English and Spanish for many years.
        Mariano comes to us from another tradition. His poetry—delicate, suggestive, reticent, sometimes mysterious—often resembles East Asian handiwork that refuses (borrowing a phrase from Auden) to say more than it means. In The House of Mae Rin we have pieces by what we can only call a triple outsider—“triple” because 1) he’s a Spaniard writing in English; 2) he’s a tourist traveling through distant parts of Thailand; and 3) he’s an artist.  But he does not dwell on alienation or outsiderness or pain: matters are unspoken, guessed at, presented a haiku-like fashion. What is remarkable is that there are no extra words in his poetry—he says what he has to, then leaves the poem. But he reads with passion, and in both Spanish and English, adding a new and rich dimension to what appears on the printed page. Mariano has added a new and unique voice to our poetry community in Southern California.


I walk through the hospital hallways.
I shouldn’t look
inside the bedrooms
but I see an old man crying
next to his wife.
I don’t know if she is his wife,
that’s what I suppose.
The door is wide open.
The woman still breathes,
sunken in a small bed
with two pillows
under her head.
I get closer.
She is asleep—
more than asleep.

He removes her eyeglasses,
the small gold earrings
shaped as clovers
and the denture
that comes out with the noise
of a suction cup
and has silver hooks at the edge.
He tries to remove
her wedding band
but her hands are swollen
and he has to bend over
and lick her finger
several times
like an obsessive, clumsy dog.
He takes the ring out of his mouth
and keeps it on the palm of his hand
with the other things—
relics,
bones of metallic birds
stained by life.

She tilts her head to the right.
Her neck is made of clouds.
Her face is the face of all the dying.

He doesn’t kiss her.
He doesn’t even touch her forehead
when the nurses carry her away
into the cold
where she will spread brand new tablecloths
and will set the table
with tall glasses
and garlands
until we arrive.


First published in The House of Mae Rim, Carayan Press, 2008


2009 Mariano Zaro
Mariano Zaro was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the October 2009
Second Sunday Poetry Series.