What Bliss, When Exuberance Overruns Its Banks

By Lance Larsen

Featured Image: Ocean Swells by Winslow Homer 1895

As in a certain exit ramp outside Seattle,

a glissando of cement and steel

that promises release, or at least a shortcut

to the Sound, then sheers off into sky,

or stretches of Hemingway when dialogue tags

fall off the page, leaving only God

and a passing scrap of cumulus

to discuss troutness or the ontology of clean,

or my favorite, a tiny Rembrandt etching

of a milkmaid canoodling with her beau,

spokes of sun, hay at her back, why,

why shouldn’t she reach with three arms?


Lance Larsen has published five poetry collections, most recently What the Body Knows (Tampa 2018). He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Ragdale, Sewanee, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Six of his nonfiction pieces have been listed as notables in Best American Essays. He teaches at BYU, fools around with aphorisms (“When climbing a new mountain, wear old shoes.”), and recently completed a five-year appointment as Utah’s poet laureate.

Originally published in NOR Spring 2010.

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