Two Poems by Lauren Camp

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On the Margin of Patience

Along the ground, a shadow of hawk unfolded. Imprecise light.
I taste a trace of last night’s rain.
We don’t talk of exhaustion—all the fracture, future and what it costs
            to live in it—but clouds shouldered over a distant mountain.
As always, I am scared to pray with my staticky mind. Bad things happen
            when I rattle my needs.
But the doctors prospect your heart will keep beating rapid and circular.
We wake up and wake up filled with identities, ominous prophecy.
I smell cardamom. Tamed rules of sunrise.
It helps to think of this twentieth year, to think
            of the break Miles took. How he returned
            with new wiring.
He took a future of once and volted into a modal landscape,
            made the complete impossible.
Elsewhere, inside the world, almost everyone is
            in the middle of obedient sadness with its long vowels.
It makes sense that the ear can do better than dazzle with repetition.
Today: a feather unloosed. I admire its motion.
Now the residue of summer’s precocious apricots,
            now the way I listen to your urgent valve and ventricle
            pleat a few chords.
Now aimless dancing in our kitchen when the trumpet solo
            comes on. Short cat briefly purring. Another vamp.
Bring it here, all we already know: the noise and interruptions.
Give us the curved space, the nearest thing
            we have to existence: emphatic octave, our entire story, banter, bell.



Days of the Fire of Fires

We said—here, too.
We said no power.
We said oh no. Said
many prisms of pity, conclusion. We said
those short and small messages
that mean terrible, horrifying.
Can’t believe it we said,
awful, and thinking of you
again and again. We said wow
and OMG and nightmare, and
we said have a plan, said love and worried and hope
you’re okay. We said plague and go or don’t.
We said no clearing of sky and more
than a week. We said vast
mist, the color of rust. We said as if
refusing what can be undone.
We said forest and town and erasure and species.
Some said we are still okay.
We said sunrise and ash. We said same
here. Or we said never. She said trying
to breathe. The winds rape on
in the unfocused light. We said it is,
it isn’t. He said the full coming down,
the coiling around. Unreal. We said ravaged,
so very, I’m so. Sorry and so. Same here
we said, or yes or no. Tragic we said. Look at it now.
We said this morning, said we are settled
much as we can. Said our house
or the neighbors, everything, everyone.
Likely to get worse we said we heard.
The end of the world. How are you?
Pray we said in a whisper—
The valley is heavy.
We drove through. Could not.




Lauren CampLauren Camp is the author of seven books, including Took House (Tupelo Press)  and two upcoming collections: An Eye in Each Square (River River Books, 2023) and Worn Smooth Between Devourings (NYQ Books, 2023). Honors  include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, Housatonic Book Award, and New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her work has  been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Arabic. She is  the Poet Laureate of New Mexico. Catch up with her at­.

Read more poetry by Lauren Camp appearing in two poems and two poems.

Header photo by sondem, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Lauren Camp by D. Camp. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.