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While watering, I found it under the Ponderosa pine,
a stray egg, already cold, dropped by a stray

hen in a hurry for better cover. A thing like that
you have to save, but my PJs had no pockets,
so I polished it on my sleeve and popped it
into the wet pouch of my mouth for safe keeping.
Its shell tasted like calcium, like sun, which is to say
like nothing at all. I moved that oval prayer
cheek to cheek, and even the names of my hostas—
Stained Glass, Blue Angel, Fire and Ice—
seemed to bear witness to a new magnetic north.
Was the egg fertilized? Should I call it a compass,
cook it in bacon fat? I felt old as an alderman, young
as rain. And for a moment, oppositions held:
tame/feral, spirit/flesh, me/not me, snail/sky.
Then Jacqui called from the kitchen for me
to grab a ripe peach or two, and the world wrinkled.
I answered in a nothing voice, like the groggy man

she’d kissed awake at dawn, but already I could taste
funerals on my tongue, wings unfolding at my back.

(originally appeared in Poetry Magazine)


Lance Larsen, professor of English, previously served as BYU’s English Department chair. He teaches American literature and creative writing, especially poetry. He is the author of five collections of poems, most recently What the Body Knows (Tampa 2018). He has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart prize and fellowships from Sewanee, Ragdale, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2017, he completed a five-year term as poet laureate of Utah.