Joan Larkin
Waste Not

We're using every bit of your death.

We're making a vice of your mouth's clenching and loosening,

an engine of your labored breathing,

a furnace of your wide-open eyes.


We've reduced you to stock, fed you to the crown,

banked the pearl of your last anger,

stored the honey of your last smile.


Nothing's left in your mirror,

nothing's floating on your high ceiling.

We're combing pockets, turning sleeves,

shaking out bone and ash,

stripping you down to desire.


Your beloved has folded your house into his.

I'm wading in the Swift River, balancing on stones.

Found In Volume , No. 04
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Joan Larkin
About the Author

Joan Larkin is the 2011 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. She has also received the Poetry Society of America's 2011 Shelley Memorial Award. Poet Rigoberto González is co-recipient of the award. She has also received the Publishing Triangle's 2008 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, for her book My Body: New and Selected Poems. In addition, Joan Larkin has received the Lambda Literary Award for poetry twice, in 1988 (for Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, with Carl Morse) and in 1997 (for Cold River). In the 1970s, she co-founded the independent small press Out & Out Books and co-edited the anthologies Amazon Poetry and Lesbian Poetry (with Elly Bulkin). Her anthology of coming out stories, A Woman Like That, was nominated for a Publishing Triangle award and a Lambda Literary Award for nonfiction in 2000. She served as poetry editor for the first three years of the queer literary journal Bloom. She is co-editor, with David Bergman, of the Living Out autobiography series at the University of Wisconsin Press. In addition to Larkin's Lambda Literary Awards, her awards include fellowships in poetry and playwriting from the Massachusetts Cultural CouncilNew York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.