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Two poems by Lauren Camp

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

Clasp-lock, Winter

The end of the year or the eyelash

of another is a whirlpoint

to our whole persistent

erasure. In today’s version,

cold swarms plausible

places, which means

my fleece-rimmed self stays

in the very least of longer. Time is

a heavy container and the future

passes through

before, before, before.

Though I want more

than epithets and credible peaks,

this afternoon we practice

yelling in long

rocks. We sound it out

while the sun slaps bright, asking

a strictest trust. No one nearby

but sirens. Thick obsession

seems to be the only room

we’ve ever occupied. So I climb

a hill to look long enough

at circles of useful

ravens, blackly identical

in their desires. Brooding season

in a year of meltwater.

The clouds profess their silvered

ripples and a fluttering oath

of sunset dedicates

to rose. I shuttle past precipice. And see—

how we can make a pause

and hunker into it.

Dear Desire

I don’t know how I built this

need. Where to hold it.

I cannot explain why the wind inhabits

my body, and I would like

to see more gold leaf. I would like everyone

to see it. Last night we watched another movie

in which love is a threshold and the city

around it, deep snow.

What I mean is, I’m lucky.

I post magnets on my fridge. Small print

stuck on a syntonic grocery list:

tin foil, cauliflower, salsa, a whole journey

of feeding my family. Those clutching

reminders with devotional practice.

Mornings my husband grinds the coffee

with pro-grade earmuffs on.

He wears a blue shirt again.

Another day dressing in distance.

He watches me linger beside the sayings.

Something to use between the world and my will.

What do we know of contentment?

My husband is exhausted by the unavailable

trouble I crave. My magnets tell me to expect nothing,

to never stop wanting. They repeat every day.

After this, he sorts the laundry:

darks, lights, blues. These are the rooms of our house.

Lauren Camp is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico and author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press). Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and Housatonic Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, The Common and Beloit Poetry Journal, and her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic.

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