Larry Narron

is a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. His poems have appeared in Phoebe, The Brooklyn Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, and elsewhere. They've been nominated for the Best of the Net and Best New Poets. Originally from Escondido, California, Larry currently lives in Philadelphia, where he works as a research assistant and reading specialist intern.


Pilgrimage

Instead of an overpass, you say,
imagine trying to sleep
under a halo of head-on collisions.

To fill the void, you leave,
you pour a lighter theology
until it flows over the brim,
where your lips barely capture
the froth of the Mahayana that
Mom swaps her Wicca for
after her coven degenerates
into a vampire book club.

There’s no judgment
day on the horizon to fear,
only a summer of coastline
to lean on like a crutch
during your pilgrimage north
from La Jolla, where
at first you fellowship
on the beach with a fraternity
of monks who play ultimate
frisbee under a bonfire’s
arching flames.

You’re joined by converts
you meet at a geode shop
later on in Solana, where
you dribble whiskey
syllables into the small
ear of a child, insisting she let
the cashier decipher her palm.

You carry a cardboard sign
on which you’ve sobered up
enough to infuse a gentle
demand for a free Tibet.
You channel sanity
over the ocean to soften
the hearts of the Chinese officials.
Your quest is cut short
near Camp Pendleton,
where one of the monks
catches you backsliding
into your past
life with a flask during prayers.
You have to hand over
your cardboard sign
to the palm reader.

You dilute the Pacific
with whatever’s left of your whiskey
as you stumble back
down shore, where the water
plays jump rope with the land,
where the kelp binds your legs
in the dark.