The Last Salt Kingdom

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Poetry

The Last Salt Kingdom graphic

She eased out of a group celebrating a fiftieth
   high school reunion — her wide set and still blue
eyes taking me in an instant back to summer
   glazed bodies swimming away whole afternoons

at a bend in the Sandy River in John Yoakim’s
   pasture, where current cut a hole deep enough to
swim, where silk black river bottom land grew dark
   green corn behind us, and wild plums in the fence

row between, released sweet juice of rose colored
   flesh, sliding mouth to breast, feeding the madness
of sixteen in a 1936 Chevrolet after November foot-
   ball games, without a heater on a dirt road running

under twin rows of Chinese Elm and Sugar Maple,
   one mile with no farm houses… her smiles in Algebra
class making me forget how much I hated Miss Heiser
   and algebra.  First serious girlfriend, first voice

questing beyond the gentle mediocrity of a prairie
   village, virgin dreams like paths to larger rivers — but
as she slid into my arms, she whispered, “Oh Larsen,
   you weren’t supposed to get old” — words falling like

blood upon snow, only the tremor in her cadence ma-
   king the voice play harlot to memory’s lust, tremor
fighting valley winds for the high ridges, the flute’s
   adagio celebrating by her witness to another time,

last salt kingdom of the wild heart’s wings flying blank
   blue skies  re-collecting scattered dreams of faces
fallen to bone — wound revealing the truest self.

Passion Contents


As an athlete, English Teacher, lover of music, father, husband and citizen of the world, Larsen Bowker finds the themes and ambiguities which flourish in his poems. He is particularly grateful to magazines like Wild Violet, who offer him a place where his love of poetry finds a place where his words find a larger audience. In the illustrations that accompany their poems, readers find a way to take more from the poem than they would otherwise. He has had poems appear recently in Atlanta Review, Coal City Review, and Common Ground Review. His seventh book of poems, Elegiac Dialogues, came out in 2017.