Poem of the Week

Plum Madrigal

Lisa Russ Spaar

We keep our distance, a kind of prayer,
walking through contagious air,

older father & old daughter,
roaming his church, the little orchard,

apricot already blown to leaf, apple
mere pulses, the peach still braille

on yet-dead limbs. I love most
the plum, fruit whose stone would close

my throat. Scabrous trunk, bent
as a crone but bridal in ascent.

Without protection is what anaphylactic
means. I plunge my face toward scent’s lunatic

shock. In it: olives, sea salt, a crescent moon:
a contact high, a cyanidic swoon.

Lisa Russ Spaar is the author/editor of twelve books of poetry, including More Truly and More Strange: 100 Contemporary American Self-Portrait Poems and Madrigalia: New & Selected Poems. She is a professor at the University of Virginia.
Originally published:
November 10, 2021

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