Lauren Camp: Three Poems

Leather World, This Bird, This Sky

I came here from temporary
and perpetual rages—the whole sky
of wind. Secret birds
take the ruin of garden.
Hail carefully cuts out
the unseen side, the open veins.
Dirt offers its fragrance
through flooding.
When the nest falls,
I open the twigs and find only
crickets with their gasps
and clicking. For 19 years I have been
driving toward reason—or into
the sinews of city: the pile-up
on the interstate, the drums
of hydrochloric acid
near intersections, the suspicion.
Where does it end?
I’ve always understood
what can’t be said, but the man
who complained of kindness
had to apologize. There’s almost
no dialogue between life’s
various promises. Such endeavor,
all of these seasons.
Wind pulls on one wing
then a next—and a raptor flies
crooked through its mandolin language.
Suddenly everything verified:
cloud without end.


Juice and Distillation

We sat shoulder to shoulder over the sugared
cuisine, and the raw and the salted.

I love you, I do, he said, and I sighed.

If I was nectar, he was parched,
a body without doubt, and later, tasting

with the sharp knife what had been unseeded.
The harvest was plentiful that year.


Best Portrait

Inspired by the photography of Annie Liebovitz

In the morning
with her largest lens, each frame
allows a sudden opening. She climbs the ladder—
eyes, shoulders, skin.
It is a long walk to the end of a face.

In the afternoon,
image becomes excursion, the pleasure
of finding the shape of a stranger in the curve
of a lens. Nothing shelters the shot.
No distraction.

Each gesture is bundled
in whispers. The evening’s penitent
light, and the hard eye
of flash leads to rumor.
Then the picture spills out by itself.


(Author photo by Bob Godwin)

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