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Temple You

In honor of National Poetry Month, Lifetime Learning is featuring poems written by esteemed faculty during April. “Temple You” is written by Lisa Russ Spaar, Horace W. Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Creative Writing Program in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, the most recent of which is Orexia (Persea Books 2017).


Temple You

What is mysterious about loss,
flush of arm pulled from a wilted sleeve,

summer’s urine-tang in winter leaves?
Let John Keats light another fag.

Or Brontë refuse the doctor
on her black sateen settee.

For whatever part of you
may be taken away, you said,

is the scar, the place, I will visit first
with my mouth, each time,

as gold visits the thieved till,
sun the obliterated sill,

saying thank you for leaving
me this you, this living still.


© Lisa Russ Spaar, from OREXIA: Poems (Persea Books, 2017, hardcover; 2018, paperback)