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Lisa Russ Spaar

Lisa Russ Spaar

Lisa Russ Spaar is the author of many books of poems, most recently Vanitas, Rough (Persea, 2012) and Satin Cash (Persea, 2008). Her edited collections include the forthcoming The Hide-and-Seek Muse (Drunken Boat, 2013). She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Carol Weinstein Poetry Award, The Library of Virginia Award, and a Rona Jaffe Award. She teaches in the English Department of the University of Virginia.

Worry Yoga

A sheer pleat of hamstrung distraction,
as 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.

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 rigcage,
space the size of the green stone,

marbled lode from a land of sorrow. Your gift.
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 this morning I slipped your cool stone
between my gown & heart. Stippled.

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