Sometimes the heart needs a parachute; sometimes a life jacket. This man’s is black and blue. Despite the heartburn, we volunteer to walk through Calamity’s revolving door. Ask the blind baseball team, the headless orchestra-- do you really need all five senses? To hear a dog dreaming is to understand the anguish of clouds. To lie to oneself is inevitable. Raise your hand if you’re willing to break the bad news to the music-box ballerina. In some languages, flamenco is an anagram of arrhythmia. Tachycardia is the sound as the sole hits the floor. An octopus has three hearts but uses none of them; the woman with three arms rarely pays for her own drinks. Sometimes the gods mistake our shipwrecks for symphonies; we try to sink the melody but the melody always swims.
The Bridge Between Us
If there was trouble, we entered willingly. We sharpened the day into glass. Somewhere a bell rang. Somewhere a bird flew its desire into the open mouth of the world. We caught it. Or maybe it fell.
Sometimes what lands between two people isn’t destiny after all, but simply the body mistaking another’s orbit for its own, the course of things no more sacred than the names we give them.
You once said the difference between a lightning bug and a firefly could be measured by their weight in the palm of your hand. Close your fist, then, tell me-- how light, when held tightly enough, begins to burn.
The January of Having Everything
For my 40th birthday, I’ve asked the gods for antlers. Every day I check the mirror for signs.
Even the quarrel of sparrows, navigating the fire escape’s snow-melt,
agrees I’m asking for a lesser miracle. Velvet is trending this year. So is motherhood.
Don’t you think I’d look great with antlers? When I ask my lover this question, his teeth loosen.
Have you ever wondered what your head gambled away when your heart wasn’t looking?
A giraffe has small ossicones but a deliverance of neck; elephants, blessed with ivory,
are inconsolable. Last night I dreamed I was a white-tailed deer stuck on the median of Interstate 45,
traffic suicidal in both directions. Night loves a good conundrum. If the gods ask,
I’ll offer my left pinkie toe, a year without bourbon, I’ll agree to ten—no, twenty—extra pounds.
To feel the wind licking my velvet branches, my lover’s cheek listening for their pulse.
-- Lara Egger’s poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in New Ohio Review, Southerly, TheAmerican Poetry Journal, Free State Review, Arts & Letters, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. An Australian native, Egger lives in Boston where she co-owns a Spanish tapas bar. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College.