Chancellor of Shadows

Horses are praying the old-fashioned way, trotting
a fenced field at twilight under a towel of moon.

Swans settle on the pond, like five-paragraph essays
on beauty. Yes, we all have our rituals, like the skunk

stitching one pulsing patch of shadow to the next
with the swish of its tail. Not to mention questions.

How many broken pies at the bakery dream
the forgiveness of hungry mouths? How many

weeks till the silverfish tunnels through Chaucer?
What if the other life is buried inside this one?

A stack of bricks, a work shirt billowing on the line:
epics in the making. Each set of doubts, a garden.

Like the owl, I want to be paid in mice and falling
stars, take my midnights in the middle of the day.

Lance Larsen’s poetry has appeared in Poetry and Best American Poetry 2009. His most recent book is Backyard Alchemy, and he teaches at Brigham Young University.