Laurie Saurborn Young

from Carnavoria

Translated from the Russian

One notices without fidelity
how moss covets stone

and ice crystals build
themselves into cold dirt.

Existence repays the favor
and it becomes easier to love

parenthetically, without ever
mentioning the breasts.

Instead, one is thinking
of people in cafes. One is

attempting to pinpoint creation
in the way keys disappear.

Searching for Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge and I sit on a leather couch drinking haywire.
There is nothing left to do but look for someone we don’t know.

Whistles of creation are sounding and it is birdie birdie birdie to the lips
and hair. Calvin Coolidge is an advent calendar. He is scenes behind

twenty-five closed doors. We are vaulting past the mongoose, we are
a confit of speed. Oh Calvin, what we’re required to forget might not

be much. With radio voices we sing the color of our eyes. We are over
fog, we are branches jutting through water. I tell Calvin Coolidge

of a bridge named for him and he says peacock. He does not darn socks,
Calvin does not have a good stone to his name. We digest the crucible.

We giggle, watching a turkey drive the car. The papers say it is time
for a relapse and we agree, our sweaters are too itchy. So we discard them

in chimneys and leave a little smoldering on the walk. Calvin Coolidge lies
down with dogs and we do nothing about light crashing back through

the world. We pull apples apart and pinch out their wispy blue flames.
We jostle all the babies and put them gentle down to bed. What do I keep

in my mouth amid the blinking goddess, all thrown back? Is it a bright
whip, is it where cantilevers burst forth in blue dress? Our necks tilt

like light fading. Calvin Coolidge and I sit on pillows made of waves and
watch the gamble alight on thin wire. Will he tell me his name again, will he

tie a feather to this hook? Our power is to carry people to places we seek.
Baskets in hand, we are starting off. Oh Calvin we are going this way.

My Mother was an Anthropologist

Driving along the underside of the planet

we keep old bones in the truck bed,

waiting for something to call autumn amid

birds with their beaks open to the heat.

I spread butter against the bread’s heart.

If you don’t believe everything captures

a soul, then perhaps you too are caught

in the gravity of sleep and wake? It’s

something like kissing lovers in dreams

but with a touch more salt and a new

ability to stop time—just long enough

to enjoy the experience of having earth

by the balls. Of driving backwards over

corn fields wherein you dropped many

mittens one winter while turning into

someone with a slightly taller shadow.

Laurie Saurborn Young’s Carnavoria is forthcoming from H_NGM_N.

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