November 2007

Lisa Russ Spaar


Lisa Russ Spaar's poetry collections include Blue Venus (Persea, 2004), Glass Town (Red Hen Press, 1999), for which she received a Rona Jaffe Award, and the forthcoming Satin Cash (Persea, 2008). She is the editor of Acquainted with the Night: Insomnia Poems (Columbia, 1999) and the forthcoming All That Mighty Heart: London Poems (UVA Press, 2008). She teaches in the English Department of the University of Virginia.
The Ice House    

When my daughter fights on the phone
  with her boyfriend, even her side
of the story unintelligible as my pain �
bruised, alto, altering the lit hallway
  between our rooms—I think of the ice house:
pineal, subterranean light,

cave dug in a creek bank among a ganglia
  of ponds, its snug, clapboard dormer
a white-washed domestication

of the wildness within, winter felled
  beneath corbelled ceiling, slabs of ice
sawn from frozen stream and coulee,

tonged onto sledges, hauled & packed
  among straw, sawdust—so that, in the heat
of rage, or age, or passion,

what shivers of sweet sorbet,
  what unlikely shocks of whine-numbing joy
issue from its galaxy, its dipper.




Tantric, this cobwebbed plot,
fish-net snare hung high in goblin air:
I'm lost in love, a mazed speck  
of stunned flesh, sun-puzzled, heat-eaten,

freshly wept & sung,
& now meshed above the industrious,

onyx-necklaced ant-hills,
trefoiled clover, bee-gemmed buttercups.
Spiders on drugs spin weird
(did I say "lost"?) distracted lairs.  

I don't care what powers catch us
flagrant, in their bed of clews,

ropes, & cords;  the thread
by which Theseus crept his way,
now slack, now taut from her labyrinth,
could not show more golden

than these cross-hatched diamonds
burning our scars, our fire, into your barest back.



Lisa Russ Spaar: Poetry
Copyright ©2007 The Cortland Review Issue 37The Cortland Review