Lauren Camp

Someone Says the Black Things

Alarmed by the wonder
of guests never invited, I’m up late
with the crumple

and space of what a stranger said.
Leave me to it. The rant
in my inbox is many

fresh-fallen failures
masquerading as failures. How can I
thousand the deviance? Outside

a tempest, a second
or third cursive night in a row. Before
and after. If I weren’t bewildered

I would write an answer
to mirror my signature, but
I don’t any longer

want to tell my true things
with two fingers, to work the wind out
of its stiffness. Still, I’m spilling forth.

Nightmare

To escape into drooping is to flare the night shelled
on that cotton sheeting. The salty room ends

in the flange, and residue crams
with repeated days of thorn. In the middle hatch of hoarded hours, the scrapes

again! Now, again
with a sharp tang

in the tone of head
where I hold my sorrow. My avalanche

of blades, what widened graves.

As if to reduce the ear, the skin sapped
of its frenzy, he rubs my back in left-fanned circles, dangling small homes

with long boats on the handle
of this tarnished time. Despite hauling up

fatigue, I arrive to these proximities, the blank
and halved, taking what I’m owed.

God of the Clustered Night

Juniper berries are little prayers

or small ghosts

or blue sacks
that settle
like dust in our throats.

Under the house with no roof
people dance
in numb light.

Where bones chafe against dirt
others walk on fire
in circles of knowledge.

People crowd in with dissonant blankets
in the posture
of each other’s heartbeat.

Wind-churning sage
mixes with mercury
arsenic
rusted metal.

Desert clouds plump
then conjugate
all the pleasure for hours.

We avoid the cemetery
or go toward

its fragments of fossils
and wings strewn toward dark.

Let more coyotes walk us in—
guard the last disappointment.

Lauren Camp is the author of three books, including One Hundred Hungers, which won the Dorset Prize and honorable mention for the Arab American Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Slice, Boston Review, Third Coast, Diode, Nashville Review, Beloit Poetry Journal and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. A Black Earth Institute Fellow, she lives and teaches in New Mexico.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the editor of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of eight books and chapbooks, including This Visit (Blazevox, 2015), How to be Another (Cervena Barva Press, 2014), and State of the Union (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2014). Her ninth book, Heisenberg’s Salon, is available now for pre-order from Blazevox. Her poetry has appeared in such places as The Awl, Berkeley Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Cimarron, Gargoyle, The Journal, The New Orleans Review, Prelude, Raritan, Seneca Review, So to Speak, Verse, and Verse Daily.