My beloved is in a far country, which is to say
up thirteen carpeted stairs then hang
a quick left. I’m carrying into the cold
a bulging trash bag, big enough to hold
and hold and stretch and hold, like love itself,
and outfitted with handy drawstrings.
The syllables of my beloved are sweeter
than the cherry yogurt that once brimmed
these cups, her clavicle sturdier than corncobs,
her skin fairer than papery onion skins.
By now, perhaps she is stepping into the pools
of Solomon, or a mid-priced bath-shower
combo by Kohler, I know not which.
The moon is her loofah. With the Big Dipper
she spoons steaming water over her nakedness.
Or perhaps she is drying her hair with a spare
cat, seasoning her body with two hundred
shekels of cinnamon, one hundred each
of hyssop and camphor. Also a few shakes
of Johnson’s baby powder. Perhaps the stars
are calling Olly olly oxen free, join us in the sky.
Please, my beloved, flee not yet, stay a bit.
Are there children still curled in your honeyed
womb? Might a hummed hymn free
them? I toss away my trash and sniff…
Beyond the cul-de-sac a faint whiff of burning
forest. Two mountains away lies a lake,
trout jumping wave to wave like lunatics.
So too my zeal. A dozen deer drift down
from the foothills to chew fallen pears.
So too my calm. My kisses are like a bandit
robbing a 7-Eleven, also like a breeze
gently worrying underthings on a clothesline,
brisk and scared, then feathery and white.
I’ll see your sycamores and firs and raise
you rubies and a sea-green sapphire.
My ardor equals three sliced pomegranates,
your fervor a terrible banner unfurled
in battle. I’ve carried you. Will you
carry me? Lay me down upon your linens,
drop me like a sack of ripe kiwis, scatter
me like crumbs across your cleanly swept floor.
Lance Larsen is the author of five poetry collections, including What the Body Knows (Tampa). He teaches at BYU and fools around with aphorisms: “When climbing a new mountain, wear old shoes.” He recently completed a five-year appointment as poet laureate of Utah.