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Lauren K. Carlson: Three Poems

Selected by Mish Murphy, Assistant Poetry Editor

Narrow Fellow In The Grass

Confidence looks strange on a woman/ like a boa constrictor/ in the swamps of South America I saw one in a cage/ I did not shiver/ at the snake/ no narrow fellow was he/ but girthed like me/ round patterned flickering thing/ tone/ twisting into yet another/ spiral/ yet another/ strange tail extending/ that’s me/ road-show-zoo-circus-beast/ again/ like me/ unusual isn’t it/ most of the books I read/ the man is always older/ I tell you he thinks he is/ but never is/ older than me/ little girl the old woman said but I am/ little no longer/ I’m a boa’d thing/ scarf you’d hang with/ I guarantee/ nobody believes my age when I say it/ nobody believes how old / I am you see/ they say/ no way/ you are so beautiful/ they say it to my face/ a waste a beauty like that/ at her age/ heaven forbid/ I’m sure you’ve heard the story/ I was once a snake/ with legs

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Wrecked

Love like pine sap. Sticky in the wrong places.
Bob Daniels sold his family home in Manistee,
guess you never know what’ll bend someone’s nose.
We could save humanity if we evaporated humans.
The bearded iris bloomed today.
How dare she — doesn’t she know we’re suffering?
Selfish flower whose true age is uncertainty,
Mr. Daniels never sold his home to anyone.
To unlock my ancient parts I camped for a week
at the bottom of Lake Michigan. I breathed
such freshwater. I never told how. Unreal fabric,
sea floor, which swaddles all of us: jeweled maggots.
If we only knew ourselves grub and wholly.
Like ruby throated wings, the clear water of time humming.
Hands at the wheel, teenage girl. We all wanna dance with somebody.

Waxwing Oct 2021

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Summer Solstice In Lac Qui Parle

Now, at sunset, the children’s
faces part the light
and take on darkened
     cloaks, so for a moment, though
prairie wind animates brush
and crests its grasses, while tractors
     roar through the fields, causing dust
to hover holy ghost like
over the surface of the shivering deep
     loam as controlled burns
singe the invading sunflower edge-weeds
and we protect our cultivated soy crop,
     everything is foreshadowed
with reflexive clarity.  The old ground
will crumble under cull and engine.
     Rise and make a cloudless red
stinging sky. What would it mean to unimagine,
unimagine, no, not being, but desire;
to unimagine desire.
Conduit to dissatisfaction,
     my life is what else.

LEON Literary Review Oct 2021

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book cover for ANIMALS I HAVE KILLED by Lauren K. Carlson

ANIMALS I HAVE KILLED by Lauren K. Carlson

Click here to find out more about Lauren K. Carlson and her publications

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