Mara Adamitz Scrupe


do not think I don’t know the important
element of any fabric
landscape/ wild ginger on the precipice the down
slope the true side soft

pubescent & tender                shush shush


I stuck wildflowers

in a Mason jar on the porch table/ Indian
Paintbrush/ Butterfly Weed & Russian Sage/ natives
grown from mixed seeds/ incorporate the world

over & what makes an ecological
advantage & what makes
the world dressed up & set schismatically in the real
or abstract straight or crooked in this

tension/ discord boxed up & tied tight with right
-colored ribbon             shush              & here I am
an enterprise flawed & wounded in amalgamates
of shame & hubris/ ambition & my own private
hungers/ something creamed off as in

scoop the topmost richest layer as in
smash the glass door to get inside           shush           shush


At the head table for now I keep my own       strung &
stitched in goldwork in fever/ elegy/ that sickness

of melancholy & longing                 long
long roadless & fearless underneath


& closest
to the soil three-lobed & hollow
-found by emergent flies is the false lure of an animal
succumbed to winter as the fake thawing

carcass & the teeny-tiny oily food
gift attached/ collected by ground ants
returning to burrow – eaten – in the ebb &
freed from my own                 my own
beautiful winged eliaosome
palpable/ as pain to the insistence
of consciousness/ as a seed cast off
to germinate belongs
to the fragile infinite

Strange Seasons

Hortus deliciarum, an illuminated text compiled between 1176 and 1185 in Alsace, France by a nun called Herrad of Landsberg, served as a pedagogical tool containing theological, literary, horticultural, musical and philosophical material. The book has fascinated scholars because it celebrates a little-known monastic community of women who were writers, scribes, musicians and artists.

Praise the matrons the mothers the daughters the wives
& sisters          who wear every lash as
kindness as solicitude/ here here in this garden of delights         praise
the dames of dolor/ women pleasure-bred for bleeding in
exuberance suborned smelling of sweet pine
& eucalyptus           smelling of sweat trapped

rising from the heat of a secondhand coat from the sink
the stink of my own unwashed body squatted
in the gush & issue of a sky of a sky of a sky stung
in stippled cirrocumulus strata emaciated as the pattern
on a mackerel’s back as an omen a sign as a gypsy moth
as a Cossack trader as a Hanseatic merchant write me

in code in Graphina anguina in lichen calligraphy in nuts
& berries & tokens in gardenias’ tongues &
rotting fascia in funereal gladioli in substrate of stone & salt
my chest celled & silver lined I’m your receptor so let me talk talk
talk       write me in
transmissions           talk me in deceptions as infectious & epidemic

as the Eichstätt yellow viola as a diseased wallflower in snug in refuge
of imperfection (I’ll take honest straightforward sin
any day) as parishioner to priest       wife to husband by way of
by way of polyphony compiled in the Hortus deliciarum write me
in brittle women       write me sleepless the quiet hollered up &
fed upon rampant oceans inroads billeted in gridless magpies’

eyes in mandevilla’s gorgeous overtaking uncontrolled/ un
refined          in praise of in praise of strings & glitter
things sprinkling our midnight both the blue of distant mountains how
familiar & sad stricken/ admitted/ in closeness the callouses the feral
torch of a much too warm winter           a far too early
summer/ strange seasons       & that freak storm that sent

my flower garden sideways/ the peonies/ laid them down & tore the red
rock trumpet’s blossoms from woody vines & drove coyotes
out from snowed wood as shapeshifters as latter-day coureurs
de bois/ cut through the bearing/ waiting/ yearning for light’s
return as though the drift/ the darkness might
be avoided               one cross closer               to morning


–after W. B. Yeats’ Leda and the Swan

before the swan shape-shifted before a whitecap
crossing/ gilded in the swell            a punch a curl
before I knew I was that woman

pull me up gentle         bird           not hard
off this granite bottom lake

before the swan simpered
& coaxed & tempted/ provoked/ I was that girl

transport me single on ion-tatted wings

I was the boy-friended bevy in the boat         all wash
& syncopation sparked & gliding/ crisscrossing
the silvery slip           unseparated

as the flocking almost autumn’s honking
wedge            fistful of late-summer shimmer           I was
champion of skim & skid connected/ my knees above

my skis my parted thighs caressed by the breeze
because I was the woman           the poet’s pet

pull me up gentle           to be both           & neither

nor never the savor nor the swan
before I was the poet’s woman

I was aerialist aqueous & birdlike hanging
on a string a wire a strand a lanyard stretched
crossing/ a lofty cosmonaut sprinkling the dark of a slab-
girded inland sea          or scorched by day & day        &

night twined bird        in & out        tender & stony
culled           enticed           caught

rushed in at the wake           hit hard inside
& outside the edge’s weight

that’s the trick birdie-bye

broadside before the swan I was voltage holding
on until the dash              I was electric charge

in the spill I savored the salty stew as the flavor
not the drop from the tip I was high-wire nerve & vaulting
before puerile & passionate              I was

I know           I thought I knew

enough          to let go           of the rope

Mara Adamitz Scrupe is a writer, visual artist, and documentary filmmaker. She has authored six prizewinning poetry collections and received numerous creative grants and fellowships. Her poetry and essays have been published worldwide in literary journals and arts periodicals and her environmental installations, sculptures and artist books are held in the collections of international museums and sculpture parks. She serves concurrently as Lance Williams Resident Artist in the Arts & Sciences, University of Kansas/ Lawrence, and Dean and Professor Emerita, University of the Arts/ Philadelphia. Mara lives with her husband on their farm bordering the James River in the Blue Ridge Mountains countryside of Virginia.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , by Posit Editor. Bookmark the permalink.

About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.