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

mmsurface, suddenly

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

mmthe incomplete

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.

A repetition.

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.


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