Sandra Rokoff-Lizut


The Way the Marriage Ends

He unscrews the light bulb
from the overhead lamp
in their bedroom
and takes it with him.

He says he plans to live
with a girl whose name
he’d mentioned to her
one time in passing.

He tells the children too, huddled
together against the front door
---claims this is a good thing.


Belated Tribute

The brooch
a 30th birthday gift
from my sister---
two tiny painted plastic faces
set side–by side
in surprising semblance
of our parents.

Mommy, with
wide wary eyes
ready to put the world
(and every one in it)
back to rights.

Daddy, with his
fortunate spirit of song
and unfortunate
song of spirits, passive
in her wake.

(slight sardonic smile)
I bequeathed the brooch
to the tangled deep
of my velvet jewelry box
where it lay
for many years.

Now, in my season
of falling leaves
I mine the jewelry box
reclaim the gift
stretch open its clasp.

With tentative fingers
nesting it softly
on saffron colored wool
I pin it above my breast
allow it rest for a while
in closer proximity
to my heart .


How to Age Well

… that’s how the light get’s in. Leonard Cohen, “ Anthem”

Can your
feet still ring
your hands
skin and stomach
fingers toes
Ring the bells that still can ring

Can your
brain cells
still ring
still ring
that which sees
and smells and hears
that which loves
and hates and fears
Ring the bells that still can ring

And if
through time
and constant wear
a hairline bell-crack
does appear---
Fear not



My Mother (Again)

In my dreams
I turn toward to you.
Your pearl earrings
still in place
red slashed
across wrinkled lips,
translucent face---
pieces of eggshell
pasted together.
A brisk breeze
would crumble
and disperse you.

I clutch my gut; struggle to breathe.
You died and willed your body
to science thirty years ago!

Not really dear---
I’ll have one more year,
be housebound,
(probably bedridden
and need lots of care)
somewhere in your town.

She extends a scrap of paper
to me, I, first born dutiful
daughter, crumble the note
containing your address
and phone number, jam it
into my pocket, and hope
never to find it again.



deep in stripes of black
and white softness, I sip fine syrah;
tongue seeking promised hints of dried
herbs and fresh violets. Head tilted
back on brightly stitched pillows
from Oaxaca; I bask.

Cross-legged on nearby

rug, my grand daughter
(who is seven)
gently pats blue-gray rabbit
(who is live)
reads him story she’s written
about another rabbit
(who is not).

From the kitchen
seductive smells
(black beans and sausage)
vie for airspace with
mysterious mathematical words
(exponentiation and equation)
bandied about our ancient
formica kitchen table
by a grandfather
and a tween

Outside small square-paned
windows, ruby-tipped vine maples
hold my eyes captive. Touched by
tender breezes in autumn’s
early dusk, they slowly
and rhythmically wave


Copyright  ©  2014 Sandra Rokoff-Lizut


Sandra Rokoff-Lizut, retired educator and children’s book author (published by Macmillan, Holt Reinhart & Winston, and Hallmark Inc.), is currently both a printmaker and poet. She is a member of Oregon Poetry Association, Mary’s Peak Poets, Poetic License, Gertrude’s, and a weekly writing salon. Rokoff-Lizut volunteers, by teaching poetry to middle-schoolers, at the Boys and Girls Club in Corvallis, Oregon. She also studies poetry Oregon State University. Previous publications include Illya’s Honey, The Bicycle Review, Wilderness House Review, The Penwood Review, and Wild Goose Poetry Review.