When we s at down to close our wonderful winter series with Poet-in-Residence Lisa Russ Spaar, the theme of the poem below felt a particular serendipity: today is the official kickoff of Mardi Gras (at right, a photo by Rusty Costanza of last year’s kickoff in New Orleans).

As with all the poems she has offered WVFC, Spaar, the much-published and much-honored winner of the  2009 Library of Virginia Award for Poetry and Director of the program in poetry writing at the University of Virginia,  finds in that moment and these next few weeks a wry inner spark.  We publish this woman in gratitude for her poems that warmed the new year and in celebration of her ever-vigilant scanning of the horizon of our lives.

Foraging Mardi Gras

In Lenten overture, I float on tissue-pomped façade
of chicken-wire trailer, intoxications, fumes of gasoline,

liquor, & overwork, day scatting its gilt beads
into night’s black-bound book, hinging every hope.

Aisles of wonder lead me, charcoal strokes
of thinned thicket, window flare. I’m writing toward you,

palms bloody with henna, through the fiercest neighborhoods.
I should be honest. My car’s parked at Food Lion

& I’m pushing a wire cart through the pyramids,
headless vials of wine, frozen meat in caskets

so oddly spousal I shut my eyes and whistle past them.
How long can this trip be if I already see its end?

Truly: I can’t whistle. Yet hold tomorrow’s ashes in my mouth,
hot as your blue limbs, a secret pendulum hung with silks.

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  • Mardi Gras Poetry « Elizabeth Willse February 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    […] Mardi Gras Poetry I’m a day late grabbing this Poetry Friday from Women’s Voices For Change. But still early for Mardi Gras. Lisa Russ Spaar writes about Mardi Gras in a way that makes me wish I could see all the floats and parades in New Orleans- I’ve never been to the city. But the poem also makes me feel like I’m there. Here’s the intro. Read the rest at Women’s Voices For Change. […]