Midas Passional

By Lisa Russ Spaar
No one has touched me for weeks
yet in this drugged, gilt afternoon, late,

when nothing is safe, I’m paralyzed,
as though so wildly desired—passing solo through the garden’s

cinnamon, marigolds, famished roses, where a matted shingle
of the swept-up human hair I begged from a local beauty shop

& spread out fruitlessly among the blooms & canes
to keep away the deer might well be a satyr

passed out in the palace’s candied gold—
that something regnant with a strange, godlike power

could not help but reach out from the umbral blue
to tap my white arm. It is a day to die,

the light autoerotic, theatrical, with an unbearable listing,
stalled in cusp, in leonine torpor. Is courage artifice?

As though to answer were within my means.
Or to even move my mouth.

Source: Poetry (February 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2011
 Lisa Russ Spaar


Lisa Russ Spaar's most recent book of poems is Vanitas, Rough (December 2012).  A collection of her essays, The Hide-and-Seek Muse:  Annotations of Contemporary Poetry, is due out in March 2013.  Her awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Weinstein Award for Poetry, the Library of Virginia Award, and a Rona Jaffe Award for Emerging Women Writers. Spaar is a professor at the University of Virginia.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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