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
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
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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren K. Carlson lives on the coast of Lake Michigan with her husband and three young sons. She is a spiritual director, editor of Tinderbox Journal, and reader for Palette Poetry. She’s overeager about everything, especially paradox and embodiment. She is the author of a chapbook: Animals I Have Killed (Comstock Review 2018). For more info and select publication credits, see www.laurenkcarlson.com. Lauren's twitter handle is @LaurenK_Carlson.
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