Compost

by Lance Larsen

I sing the dreck we make a feculent muck
of saving the kingdom come of clipped

grass whirligig leaves and deadheaded
daylilies Parrot Moon kissing Primal Scream

all mixed with the god forbid of kitchen scraps
corn cobs like the chewed legs of pigs

tomatoes sluicy with vegetal roe the mosh-pit
hair of pineapples topped and here a scatter

of artichoke leaves like a dismembered
armadillo fortune cookies minus the fortune

enough cat kibble to punctuate Ezekiel
sumpy cantaloupes ripe as betrayal

not to mention spent tissues sopped in sneezes
and nosebleeds Sunday papers fat

with want ads and exposés here an au pair
who tutors trig and scrubs bidets here a hung

jury jiggered by bribes all of it layered
with bales of peat trucked from Alberta bogs

each week I turn it each week I lift my pitchfork
to decay the ripeness almost intestinal

I’m making a bed for Osiris all things reeky
folded together stars falling nightly

from myth into loam in the shaded heat
of this plot a pair of salamanders twining

striped with fire moist as adultery
steam rising with what is buried like plumes

of heat escaping the dead how do I channel
such desire now I kneel and now

I warm my hands in this funk solstice
and dross offal and equinox if only

this sweet god of rot would hold her breath
if only she’d stop panting my name


Lance Larsen, former poet laureate of Utah, has published five poetry collections, most recently What the Body Knows (Tampa, 2018). He has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize and an NEA fellowship. His essays have made the Notables list in Best American Essays six times. He teaches at BYU.

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