Spring in the Middle Ages

 Lisa Russ Spaar


Cut to: a woman on her knees,
robes closing the throat, histamine slag

fumigating narthex, groin, as hemlocks, choleric,
erupt without, & dogwoods quail, palely extinguished,

the body she finds herself within.
But allegory shatters self.

As for black bile, the body’s final denial
of privacy – purge, starve, vomit,

allow a lancet to breath the vein –
her torso spouts sadness toward a bowl

she herself must hold, public fountain.
Or diagnose the urine, soul’s sediment reduced,

a vial subjected to the glance of certain tests.
That the world edges on, mud-sloughed

& fecal, without transformation –
in her – is the dirty trick.

(Surely when Adam crossed the allée out of Eden
a horned branch thickened, grew beyond

the prior leaf & listed less with ruth
than with a lurid melancholy as he bluntly strode

into the occidental dust?)
She digresses. Then reconsiders prayer:

soliloquy or voice-over?
For autumn in the spleen, wrap in a warm bed

& drink a quantity of dry red wine.
In this kind of dark, use your own hands.

Dear Story, she begins.
Even the proviso of pressed palms heralds her condition.