Suzannah Russ Spaar


On the island of wild ponies, we see only those fenced in. I am meat
           with intrigue, meet a man at the bar whose face has withered.
Take an Apple, Make a Face my sister wrote on a kindergarten list.

It’s September, fruit is either full or rotting and I still think I’m in love
           with you, steer your arm like a scorch through the sand. I’ve always been
one for a tender attack: horse nose on my palm, spit downing my wrist

like when you kissed me, all bourbon and wet. In the bar I’m slow
           with sunburn—skin flickers, features cooked stiff. A Witch with a Face.
Or: Open Heart to Stamp a Star. We can follow the wilted man

to Misty’s stuffed body, so we do—my leg against yours as we go.
           In a paved city I fell and busted my kneecap. No one saw—but you saw,
I picked myself up, shrugged to the bar, held my hands below

the table. Alone I hulled the stockings from my leg like a peeled rabbit, blood
           grit to its pelt. For months the scar left a print like a heart
but it wanes, will soon be hushed. A Witch with a Face. Misty was a childhood

gem, a pony for the orphans who let her mother swim free.
           This is a happy ending, an ending for children, mother pulsing and pulsing
further from shore. The car leads us to a bundle of box homes

and I won’t go inside, don’t want to see if Misty’s in the basement,
           gagged and stitched, an apple in her mouth. Her eyes don’t blink,
she stares all day at the same white wall, wonders when will they turn me?

Misses her friends. But, perhaps love is not for me. I sit stagnant, make you spin
           the car around. My skin peels in whole swathes. Tan my hide and bloat
with sawdust. Spit out Seeds, the list ends. Spit out Seeds and Plant Them.


For a few cents less see the sisters in the parking lot;

a girl eating orange peel, the brightest spectacle. In a town
that sleeps, there are feet that carry. Hometown sickness,

swallowed up sisters spitting out dirt. Halves of seeds
split open, tongued out on the asphalt like a litter

of moth’s wings. Last week they stripped all the letters

from the street signs, hoped to rename them—something
like soft street or boil. But the glue re-wrote what was lost in debris.

They walk down the highway, blister of heat. Watch
as the sisters waver at horizon, watch horizon grow and seize

them. Tall grass, sacred by their fingerbrush, cloaks what is wild:

the alive and the emptied. Skeletons, all—looked over.
Look over the meadow, town approaches. Look over the sisters,

their chewed mouths, their hands full of pasture. The sun is high,
burnt hole in a yellowed curtain. Lace frays, hangs the moon up

too, sphere of smoke. The sisters buy a new bag of fruit. Swing sour.

Suzannah Russ Spaar is a poet from Charlottesville, Virginia. She received her MFA from the University of Pittsburgh where she served as a contributing editor for Aster(ix) and poetry editor of Hot Metal Bridge. She is the co-author with Lucia LoTempio of the chapbook, Undone in Scarlet (Tammy, 2018). You can find her poems in or forthcoming from Luna Lunaapt, and elsewhere.