Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


"All Puffy and White, Goldish, Harpy, and Angelonic"


This the neighbor boy’s exact description of heaven. Which he blissfully ad-libbed from the pulpit, like some Shackleton on laudanum describing the white hell in which he was forced to sacrifice his own sled dogs. But laced with tenderness. Take that, Saint John of Patmos, take that, Thomas Aquinas and dour Kierkegaard, with your cubits and mystic ecstasies and dialectical ladders. Something about that nasal teenage voice, all mercy, lifted me out of the morass of nettles I call my life. He wore a fauxhawk and flip-flops, a Star of David etched in ink across the back of his right hand. Not for symbolism, but for the fun of it. Next week a smiley face, the week after that thunderbolts. Oh, to be seventeen. I was already back in the nettles, clenching and unclenching my fists, like a seasoned sled driver deciding which of my loyal huskies to eat first.

Credit


Copyright © 2017 Lance Larsen. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Summer 2017.

Author


Lance Larsen

Lance Larsen is the author of Genius Loci (University of Tampa Press, 2013).

Date Published: 2017-10-17

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/all-puffy-and-white-goldish-harpy-and-angelonic