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Category archive for: Lisa Russ Spaar

The Afterbirth of a Fawn

Inerte, tout brûle dans l’heure fauve . . .

– Mallarmé, L’après-midi d’un faune

All afternoon, in slate grizzle,

beneath the yews, black shag

grove where others grazed,

indifferent, some on hind legs, eating

like the Girl with No Hands

in an old tale, the doe strode,

steamed, fell, rose again,

& by sundown still just those two,

milk-hoofed ghostly limbs

of fawn hung out of her, slipping back,

emerging, again, out, in,

the ropey noose

she leaned her elegant head

back to snap at, repeatedly,

amnion alien pulley.

While I slept, she did not.

Next evening, the tawny hour,

herd conspicuously vanished,

the space cuffed, muddy, thrashed,

so whiskery with light snow

I almost missed it, stepping

among fecal pearls, stain faint

as girlhood on a thrown-out skirt.

She’d eaten it well,

her own blood, placenta, basal plate,

but not this tissue frozen

to cellophane, weird, cellular,

unlikely remnant doily,

hieroglyph spelling unattached,

natal patch that opens us to death.

from Poetry Northwest 11.2 Winter & Spring 2017More by Lisa Russ Spaar from the library

Copyright © Lisa Russ Spaar
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Friday Night Hour

Is it spectacle I’m avoiding

in a logic of surrogacy,

pharmakon gauntlet trees,

corrosive golds, birds in flexed design,

lifting, standing in for an evening

gathered with couples

or taking in a film? Bite me,

charred gusts, as I, solo,

open a window to light’s shank,

to Venus, lone & salt-stung earring.

The etched in wretched. Sure.

Inward hardly mean no drama.

But it’s a different kind of transit:

day’s demise that shows us we’re alive.

from OrexiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Celibacy 1

Unmarried, the heart ejaculates

what it must, scarlet-purled, arterial,

away, away. Or conversely, married,

it requires all—venous, freighted with waste.

Fuck the heart. On the radio,

driving home, I learn the Brits

are into all things Scandinavian.

Sunlit schools, bare breasts, the Aurora Borealis.

A “scandi trance.” Maybe. Ice is a mystery

of whatever blue enchantment swiped

my view this morning. This is no allegory.

I’m north of myself these days

with a fist full of silver keys

I lose every night in my dreams.

from OrexiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Remorse

A stick wrapped with sour sponge

to wet the lips; a grave dug

for the sacrificed heart.

Catheter that won’t insert.

This lit chain of stores where families eat

beside a highway, wet with rain.

The hurt you feel tonight I made.

It makes me small, crouched again

beneath a desk, spindly, wobbled

open maw that held a ruler,

mess of pencils, books in newsprint.

At the stoplight now, weather unspools

windshield lesions. Someone somewhere

tunes a bomb to her body.

In extremis. What a pain

like hers must feel like, bifold life,

this or that, I can’t imagine.

Strapped to mine is yours, I am

extended past our species.

Nuclei in our four hands.

Feet with penitential tongues,

pray here, pray now, always pray for

to be given.

from OrexiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Crooked Light

I love you, December,

your dusks iodine

as tea that scolds the water.

Your sickle glimpses,

grouted hemlock, hollies,

satin-black at evening,

wincing in mid-day’s

cracked, cutlery glare.

I drink your ending,

ice of childhood, pond

thick as my waist but condensed

as seed, secret in a waiting place.

Skating, skating against sadness,

I suckle you, Paradise.

Yearn for me. Bent & bird-ricked,

be a fiction I believe.

from OrexiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Temple Solstice

Glinty as spittle,
prink of shortest-day sun

straddles the black ridge,

vault whose ancient pewter speech,
parsed by cloud-cleaved

pulmonary geese, pulsed leaves,

draws me into ohmming hemlocks,
saint’s sleeves,

vulnerable resinous wrists.

Beyond or suffused with pain?
Both. Even the moon

does not speak my language

as many times as we’ve conversed.
Comb me, tricked-up wind.

Quick, before you change your polar name.

from OrexiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Worry Yoga

A sheer pleat of hamstrung distraction,

the heart opens, says the teacher.

Don’t push so hard with the eyes—

let the world see you—this while touching

my fontanel as a cruciform jet

scores a corset of cloud filling the high window.

In the studio, on whose account

do I recall myself again, scumble

of vexation in a child’s pose.

Is it masochistic to think

while following the open hand as it traces

lost houses, loves, states of mind?

I know you feel them, too, the holes

slipped into the torso—sorry, story.

Palms pressed, I unbend,

follow the vertebral way,

hold an “o” before my ribcage,

space the size of the green stone,

marbled lode from a land of sorrow.

The burr in worry, “r’s” like hitchhiker seeds,

arcing lures that bend, twist away,

then float slowly home. Freedom is the first

and our last urge. It breathes us.

I adjust, one needing

such juxtapositions.

At prayer I slipped the cool mineral

between my gown & heart. Stippled.

from OrexiaFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2017
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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