Deanna Larsen


She turnd hersell into a ship,
To sail out ower the flood …

“The Two Magicians”
19th c. English folk ballad

I started with basic shapes;
let my cells slip into a
bowl of cream.
Later, I moved on to sharp edges:
dewclaws, thorns or
the tines of a fork.

I practiced inanimate objects:
Turkish coffee so bitter
the spoon could stand on end,
pins, dead petals pressed
between the pages of a book.

I molded the baby toe and
worked my way up: bile ducts,
the crease of the elbow, the atlas
bone that cradles the head.
The tip of a Parisian’s tongue:
delicate and deliberate syllables.
Then unexpectedly; a collapsed lung.

Finally I mimicked a woman.
I spent months memorizing her gloves
until I’d perfected every finger.
The curve of her ear like a
caracole or garden snail
fastened to her jaw.

But my lips lose colors; my mouth
splays like a sleeping dog’s paw as
I fight to hold this form.
At night I shift
into a simple fish or windowpane;
light refracted from my glass.


Return to Volume 6.2






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