a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
pushes in flotilla formation over the Blue Ridge,
backdrop for this drop-dead profusion,
blush-pink cherry, dogwood, may apples
lisping serpentine brick walls,
less Plato’s “grove of Academe”
& more like inhaling the candied inside
of a closet of petticoats. O Jefferson,
lover of muslins, secrets, words: the plums
are losing their bees. This is the least of it.
Sea levels rise, in you, in me, denial’s toxins
ever with us. A student passes by,
startling the tulips in their oval beds.
It’s just that I don’t love him
anymore, she tells the air. We’ve all been her.
Or him. True, I’d know a mockingbird anywhere,
mimicking her cell phone, its barks & arias,
but cannot, being analogic, write the code—can she?—
that might declare what truth rides horizon’s lupine nimbus:
that every possible future lies within us?
Lisa Russ Spaar is the author/editor of over ten books of poetry and criticism, including Monticello in Mind: 50 Contemporary Poems on Jefferson (University of Virginia Press, 2016) and Orexia: Poems (Persea Books, 2017), her fifth full-length poetry collection. Her honors include a Rona Jaffe Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize, and the Library of Virginia Award for Poetry. Spaar’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize Anthology series and are frequently reprinted on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Recently, her work has appeared in Poetry, Boston Review, IMAGE, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other journals and quarterlies. Among her awards for teaching are an All University Teaching Award, an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, the 2013-2014 Faculty Award of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professorship appointment for 2016 – 2018. She was a 2014 Finalist for the National Book Circle Critics Award for Excellence in Reviewing and one of three national finalists for the 2016 Cherry Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her commentaries, reviews, and columns about poetry have appeared regularly or are forthcoming in The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is a professor in the Creative Writing Program of the Department of English at the University of Virginia.