Lauren Camp

Scavenging Hawks, Root, Shelter

The afternoon before I was to leave for a month, we structured a batch
of hexagonal angers, bitter clouds. You drove off, shirtless

in the windy morning. I sat down in the dirt and moved
green seedlings into little holes I made with my finger. You returned

with your tongue still red of its burning. This spectacle egged on.
Later I thought how the leashed light can drag its beasts forward.

The seedlings are bent but you will drip water, circle gently
around them. They’ll grow.

That trip: I went to a place where marble piled in cubes, peonies clutched
their bowls of great pink and a violinist played buttery notes in the kitchen.

That trip: the floor stayed off-kilter. Rain-soaked,
I missed us, our temper—

usually idle, then overlapped twisting and bolting
its coldness. This is how slow I see. Each time I’m looking

only outward in a borrowed room, the bed ever bigger
than all the noise I could make of it.




Now into desert-sever, into wind quivers worked quick
on months and news. I keep moving
through the secret banquet of outskirts, past gold-
sheeted orioles with their interludes. Bitter caution

is all neighbors offer these days, hinges and deep-
sealed windows, a brown dust, fixed.
Small valley upturned with juniper, in practice
to horsemen and quibbling wrinkles and verses of a lingual
acequia. Water swells and balms through a safe wound by the road

every Tuesday and Sunday, then washes out. It ends
long before the trailers. Even cranes on the opposite edge

and this opens me, pulls me off from detachment. The recuperating
pond shoulders a house on the corner, asleep
to what’s been taken. I walk beside which direction
it has gone and tomorrow it fills again, ready to be

ready. I’m playing my arms to the wind wherever I want
to be touched. Little else to do, I listen
to the mountain unfinish its shape. When the thought comes
that someday I can’t and won’t

fit my eye here again, I reverse the blankness, suckle
the drought, call it merciful and go home, my home

so full of good dormant odors. It’s almost my birthday
and the freeway makes its broad sound of going
as clear to me as bewildered intimacy. The future is a purpose I stop

beginning. Yesterday, I bought boots
and tomorrow I’ll trample some field
below tendered clouds. I might have finally given up need.
Here: this is one of my photos of hiding.



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