"The Irises"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
May 24 2011 6:53 AM

"The Irises"

for Charles Wright

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Lisa Russ Spaar read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

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A fly quizzical among tufted causeways,
blue sudden avenues spumed overnight from spears.

O silk, my throat closing around a sob.
That fly again, minute leaden tank, thread-hooves,

busy, busy, to whom I mean nothing.
Relief in this. Yet to me he's singing beside the dugout, the ditch,

cosmic with pathologies. A grave matter,
that perfume—father, mother, son, & daughter—

those phrases—no hands, no feet, how else depart,
eyes opened without ceasing—

why I can't disturb their bruised hymning,
why I gather them all inside, until I'll know—

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Lisa Russ Spaar's most recent book of poems is Satin Cash. She teaches at the University of Virginia.