Lance Larsen
What the Body Knows

Until I was five I could only fall asleep holding my mother’s earlobe.  A single crocus can melt a snow bank.  On my desk I keep the jawbone of a deer. When I rub its three bleached teeth, it tells me secrets.  How many hes and shes must one wade through to find a you?  Funerals hum when they begin with a honeymoon story.  Every portmanteau should house a stash of love letters jealously guarded but never re-read.  Once on a high school tennis trip one of the Zabriskie sisters fell asleep on my shoulder.  After she woke, I apologized for days, never mentioning the wet spot she left on my shirt.  In the yearbook I can find her quick as saliva.  I need a new pillow, my niece announced, I don’t like the dreams inside my old one.  Some birthmarks migrate, some merely move.  When my friend’s fiancée dumped him, he headed for the hills—with pictures of her, with matches, with enough voodoo devotion to rub her ashes on his forehead like a warrior entering battle.  The parrot sari of courtship and passion, the white sari of mourning.  When my mother turned ninety, she said, My mind is like crumbly cheese.  She had lost the names of grandkids and presidents, but remembered to open her mouth for spice cake.  Grass, if you haven’t rolled in it for months, is green fire.  Warm rain: copacetic calm.  In Florence, where there is so much kissing in the streets, ciao means either hello or goodbye, depending which way you point your lips.

Found In Volume 46, No. 05
Read Issue
  • lance larsen
Lance Larsen
About the Author

Lance Larsen has published five poetry collections, most recently What the Body Knows (Tampa, 2017).  A recipient of awards and fellowships from Ragdale, Sewanee, the Anderson Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts, he teaches at BYU, where he serves as department chair.  He recently co-directed a theatre study abroad program in London.