Lisa Russ Spaar

Baroque Hour

In which death yields to style:
ruddled sky humping intricacies

of vines, twinings tombed & calligraphic.
Is this distortion possible only in lies,

folds, the enigmatic golden stall
prose gnaws the edges of—
this cedar nave blooded by sundown
suddenly become all my self,
one doomed syllable, like young?
Unlike infinity, which has no native tongue?

Appointed Hour

Color is narcotic.
Your eyes upon me, so sick

with love my skin flames.
So saying, I’m still in time.

Let’s travel to the edge
of negation’s ledger,
again, & always, assigning
holiness to our lapis veins—
censor & saturation.
By which I mean adoration.
I can’t remember why
the mountains are, or sky—
but the gist is the blue
slur of insentience into sentence.

Thanksgiving Hour

As we decant this hard hour—
last-minute recanting, gathering

around a box, fowl sliced prematurely,
driven miles out, parceled portions

of a feast meant for later,
onions in cream & sage, turnips
he himself dug up just weeks ago
in preparation, each a Saturnalian opal
ringed with amethyst, varnished in oil,
rosemary, the Weather Channel TV heads
talking of snow, airport closings,
as his wife, wastrel, orphaned face,
eyes backwater, unfrequented,
twists demented newspaper ads
into the urns of mismatched shoes—
lo, this perfect file (how grief shows
time, feeling) of wild turkeys processes
through the yard, pausing a split second,
as on a runway, then leisurely disperses
into the snarled winter garden,
tangled as a mind’s lost neurons.
When I drive away, heart knocking
between my arms, wild for distance,
I escape into noon’s glare, shadeless,
as though by heart I knew them,
myself, or anyone.

lrspaarLisa Russ Spaar’s most recent books are Vanitas, Rough: Poems (Persea, 2012) and The Hide-and-Seek Muse: Annotations of Contemporary Poetry (Drunken Boat, 2013). Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Poets, and the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize. A reviewer and essayist for the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the New York Times, and elsewhere, she teaches at the University of Virginia.