Lauren Camp

Praise Up a Storm

in a landscape not dead we stand with the dead fermenting the sky many 
syllables of despair

the heart follows horizontal in the wet 
new grass in the low moss where stones slant up and we are 
doing with or without

a man spoke 
when he spoke it was a first image spreading 

before rain and after I wasn’t hollow the breath fast

his coffin is a door a hall a soft smudge of my father some 
whispers the rest of my life bending sideways because silence
will thick chipped and sleep there

but right now rain with its impatient entrance
soaks us all goes on down and nowhere arrow and frame we are 
standing the slope 

in our black garments soaked from the half-shut sky 
just those minutes after the trumpet 
crackles and every sentence is full of shoes and sludge as the box 

lowers to the long
hole someone dug an inward

hole down and the rain slaps and
heaps its straight lines and pink mouth

of tears umbrellas flip to tines in the wind shovels lift and we 
concentrate on packing him into his room 
of corners and sky it licks us silver the wild gristle 

of rain we don’t talk 
rung rain reams in me wringing its remarkable way down like a knife

I Was Young Once, the Clock Constant and Rousing Loudly its Rapture

Winter has chiseled to a small crowing. The air, the leaves, are busy 
departing. I drove here beside three dead deer, along a small river
and over a ratcheted bridge. I wasn’t lonely 
then or for a brief while, furrowed. I had driven off
to make good use of the sky’s great parlor, to revalue 
my definition of self. They were repairing the bridge, tarring 
the road which had wrinkled from many weighty shadows. 
The place twists below the galaxies’ antechambers. 
How nightly I stand and study that shiny movement. 
A dog stays on the porch and appreciates my presence. 
I can confirm the past didn’t vanish. Birds remain 
in ceaseless flight. It is a comfort: the hours
after the hours mixing into a new sense of seeing. 
Tonight, as I watch the particular light, I look at how 
it first strikes everywhere, then shifts to a glinted straying. 
It bodies a path then quick looses to pink. 
This is not a halt. The hour uproots 
in a last enchantment. This is not repetition. The light 
gives of itself final soft feathers. What I want to tell you 
is that the ghosts are small and beautiful. They are meant to alter.



Lauren Camp is the author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press). She is the recipient of the Dorset Prize and was a finalist for the Arab American Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Blackbird, Beloit Poetry Journal and elsewhere, and have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic.