Lauren Camp

Figures in Prologue

We expected other cozy needs. Frequently
caught seat lines in the Buick. We were enough
in illogical rustling. All roadside widespread.

Donuts. Chinese food. Bellows, sisters in impatient rain.
Her countenance is one of the oldest I know.
I declare her pretty mouth and polite.

When solicited, she reasoned her name to another
and was soon outfit in tropical light.
Fountains patinaed. Insofar as this, I watched her

become twice and half buckling
into endurance. Sometimes incantations. Watched her
guard each tiny meekness.

The fruit trees again offered flowers.
I disdained her defenses and together
we feuded, though we shared two funerals.

Drunk Wal-Mart wine as grief on the top floor
of a Hilton. Suspecting that was the end
of our possible proximity,
she now types about memory unhappy alone.

Present Perfect

)silence seance stalling soft-
curved stirring solemn asylum caelum
alongside sermon salaam ( solid strolling
stolon license listen lesson o such
glistening clauses guises( glances
clasping clanging imagine the gush
gorge reticent ridge uncrashed glassy
scratches ratchet crackle clashes giddy
breakage grudge ))rupture gilding
crucial accrual loosen hesitant and left
petulant engine coalesce concise
kinesis contagious keenness )( causeless
husk house catalyst endless
atlas ballast long since vigorous
classic ((((((

Inspired by Thelonious Monk, pianist, sound dreamer

Lauren Camp serves as New Mexico Poet Laureate. She is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently In Old Sky (Grand Canyon Conservancy, 2024). A former Astronomer-in-Residence at Grand Canyon National Park, Camp is a recipient of the Dorset Prize, finalist commendations for the Arab American Book Award and Adrienne Rich Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and Black Earth Institute. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Arabic.­

(c) Bob Godwin /