Temple Tomb

Lisa Russ Spaar

      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?

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.

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.