How I Might Sound if I Left Myself Alone

Turning to watch you leave,
I see we must always walk toward

other rooms, river of heaven
between two office buildings.

Orphaned cloud, cioppino poppling,
book spined in the open palm. Unstoppable light.

I think it is all right.
Or do tonight, garden toad

a speaking stone,
young sound in an old heart.

Annul the self? I float it,
a day lily in my wine. Oblivion?

I love our lives,
keeping me from it.

More by Lisa Russ Spaar

After John Donne's "To his Mistress Going to Bed"

What might she send — a wet sleeve, 
or platter of brine-latticed bluefish

dusky with capers, lemons, wine;
a briar for your thumb, a mouth, 

lunatic,  to suck the blood:
a signal that one too often

inside & now beside herself with thoughts
of you wonders how she might woo

and through dew-whetted keyhole 
pursue & sing & win? She is marvelous 

with waiting. Come. Hunt here.
Relieve with hands and tongue her heavy hour.

The Wishbone: A Romance

Never to belong again to wings
     that lifted, to heart,
to blood’s forsaking bodice:

this lyric forceps,
     felled flèche d’amour,
furcular picked and dried

with earthy feints of sage
     & fused with remnant gristle—
clavicles tongued, now thumbed,

memento mori
     of a hard year. Why not,
then, after giving thanks,

break it, too—
     talismanically? What good
is loss starved forever after?

To keep from freezing,
     even a priest might commit
the Virgin’s statue to the flames.

Temple Tomb

      John 20: 11–18

In this marrow season,
trunks tarnished, paused,

I am garden. Am before.
Asleep. Then the changes:

placental, myrrhed. Wet hem
when you appeared.

What did your body ever have
to do with me? In my astonished mouth,

enskulled jawbone guessed,
though as yet I didn’t know you.

You sprung. You now intransitive,
tense with heaven.

Gardener, which of us said do not touch.
Which one of us was undressed?