Lauren Camp: Three Poems

Pinwheeled Descansos


Where many men name
a street for themselves, I lurch
the car toward
the blushing sky.
The two lanes are shifting
curves and sun-brine.
On this long afternoon,
I drive gravel scribbled
with corners where the road runs
to a banner of olive and sand,
to the middle of mountains,
the piñon vast at this elevation.
In the unanticipated gesture of bend
and swerve we’ll always find bones
in pieces. I can tolerate nothing
more small and haunting
than these symbols left to spin,
their eager petals placed in the point of grief,
and whirling witless in the wind.
Another sad story turning,
irrefutable on the shoulder.
By dare or fear, we take the curled
route fast, our glances passing
these chambered vanes
and their countless greetings.
Frothed clouds hang above
where people ghost, unfinished.
The earth memorizes their forms and division,
their skids along the taut
rural ground. Over and over
we crisscross dusty light, move toward
and away. How far ‘til we get there,
‘til we break the surface?


                                     first published in [Ex]tinguished & [Ex]tinct Anthology (Twelve Winters Press)




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 grasps
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
than a next--and a raptor flies
crooked through its mandolin language.
Suddenly everything verified:
cloud without end.


                                                              first published in The Poetry Mail





Either the sound is pausing
     or the sound is all
breath, many breaths, the gristle
     and cleft whispering
rough in a rush

     past homes knuckled
to one single plank
     as the ocean snares
deep brutal folds. As each wave
     combs the back of itself

beneath sky.  At high tide:
     a great span of white
pelts the shutters.
     A stark sun continues
retreating in small gray

     rosettes, picking out piers
as the waves unmake and exhale,
     twirl again, ease away
over a universe where ocean
     flounces the town.


                                                               first published in Malpaís Review


Lauren Camp is the author of three books, most recently One Hundred Hungers, winner of the Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in New England Review, Poetry International,, Cave Wall, Beloit Poetry Journal and as a Poem-a-Day for Other literary honors include the Margaret Randall Poetry Prize, the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award, and a Black Earth Institute Fellowship. She is the producer and host of Santa Fe Public Radio’s “Audio Saucepan,” which interweaves music with contemporary poetry.