One morning last week frost licked the trees
to their edges. On the window,
more marks, half-
written. The morning before,
the car couldn’t rectify anything
we said to each other. That day we were so tired
of using our heads. We went through
intersections and parking lots, needling each other
with nods. Countless
The sky was gray. It hurt to see it
low-shouldered that way. The hours, darkening.
Today is a different day and I want to know about the chemistry
of dying stars, the way the last two
seconds are already erased. Everyone is far ahead
but I want to be soft
of the lurching. Want to listen to my father sing
insipid songs from the best
time in his old branches of memory.
In our living room, pots of geraniums idle in their singular
pursuit: roseate buds, and we kneel
and touch them. We actually greet them.
Dear day—I like when you are slow
waking up, when I can
again see delicacy. Down south, on Sunday we stood
at the pond and cranes sifted
their feathers, then aimed and lifted in a slow
drag. On Sunday, we watched them
fasten their wide wings to the murky sky. It is true
that I didn’t learn
not to worry that day,
but I still might. Yesterday, I spooned thick cream
to the midst of a small mound of cornmeal, and the bread
rose its spice in the oven. There is a margin between
lack and matter.
The wind has traveled first east then all the way
from night to the next town. More
responsive than usual. I know the useless answers I give, one after
another, and how not to give them. His slender shins.
The wind again. Metal roof. That one gold-
papered bottle of olive oil. The fat
of the chicken. Our new green teapot. You couldn’t say
we bought it in haste; I made us return
for the right one three times.
The hoarfrost, we’ll say
every time the sky cedes its palaces to emptiness.
Lauren Camp is the author of four books of poems. Her poems have appeared in Witness, Pleiades, Poet Lore, World Literature Today and elsewhere. She has received the Dorset Prize, fellowships from Black Earth Institute and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.