Lance Larsen (Ph.D., University of Houston) is Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University and a former poetry editor of Gulf Coast. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, The New Republic, Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Shenandoah, and others.
Some days I prefer these dusty tiered rows,
with hand-lettered signs, curled a little
and yellowing, where even the canonized
suffer the jagged tooth of altered affections.
This is limbo: Blake, flanked by Hollywood
poets, trying to dream the fall of Albion:
Miss Emily forced to take her tea with a bevy
of rhymesters. Here the soul does not select.
I select. I take a book down, letting
the poems sweeten, letting them breathe.
I roll the words around the lonely cave
of my mouth, until their wine tastes new.
A Fallen Woman Addresses the Moon
I want to sing without God
burning in my mouth.
Or sit in a perfumed bath
and feel oceans lapping inside me.
I want to pass fruit vendors,
with their sharp elbows and crooked beards,
and not see lust staining their eyes.
I will dress myself in white linen.
My kisses to the air will bring rain.
Will erase ministers who smile
with their neckties.
I will return to a country
green with fountains and tree frogs
where I believed I was pure
and I was.