Hardly begun, I was no longer new,
already beset with quandaries and cries.
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm—C.K. Williams (“Outsets”)
How many times he says basket to me with a pact
mmmto be tender. His words celebrate whatever’s not
ending. In the recliner with the blunder
mmof counting the beige
of each hour and his head pressed to plush rest. A longer year later, how
mmmany steps between moderate
and cutout. The slow terror of checking: palm tree, hopeful
mmroses, the haul of each
bite of dinner. Brown eyes make spaces. Unlikely
mmkisses, and he landscapes
the future. We zoom along to eternal shadows. There is no embellishment
mmto give you. He tries to practice
how this goes to that. His name is a shore and we mark it
filling, etc. This July will be many
mmyears in Florida’s blister. Inside
his mouth is one morning
mmto next and approaching true reason. The moon is up, secure
as a torch against his window. Look at the moon singing
light. My early years, my father
mmheld me high with ineluctable glee.
When We Pay Attention to the Sermon
We walked in single file past small cairns
where the unwrinkled sky opened its boat to the world.
D. touched a wall and centuries crumbled.
Natural wounds. Every day is a delicate loss.
I turned the labyrinth: in and out,
a final round, feet in the architecture of forgetting.
Wild berry, columbine, deer scat.
Spires rose at the periphery of clouds,
to the side of the latest fire.
Someone withdrew in a truck. Ending volatility.
An arroyo with its branches. Everything
was imminent, so many years in preparing.
Here was a bird, a day in a life.
The hub of crowing.
It smelled abandoned, almost holy.
Lauren Camp is the author of One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), winner of the Dorset Prize and finalist for the Arab American Book Award and the Housatonic Book Award;Turquoise Door (3: A Taos Press, 2018); and two previous collections. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry International, The Los Angeles Review, World Literature Today, Third Coast, Bennington Review, and Witness, and her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic. She lives and teaches in New Mexico.