POETRY

JULY 2018

Face, Circle, Abundant

 PIET MONDRIAN, "BY THE SEA"

PIET MONDRIAN, "BY THE SEA"

by LAUREN CAMP

My friend Virginia said I would miss the dry air
in those months between places.
At home, my apple tree had toothed to the earth,

limbs already browning. At home, a red-faced sky. Everything
was anchored, fluted by light, by my fingerprints.

In this cottage, I found my smell between broken utensils
and the slap of glue in the basement.
It wasn’t that I wanted to be alone,

just that time had been given amid plank
and dunes. Just that I needed the underbrush, the container,

the blossoms of observation. Needed to
aspire to the wisdom of waiting.
I kept an old jacket, a flowerpot, and a field bag

with a toothless zipper. Wrote words
on pieces of cardboard:

monochrome
face
circle
abundant

I studied the shore, its hem
at the sand. Perhaps I was eluding myself,
a woman wrapped in three coats beside multiple rough ridges

of ocean. When I wasn’t apprehending the deep sink
and succession of water, I trusted daylight

until that, too, dimmed. A quiet emerged
through my palms. It was sewn
or written down, which made it less singular.

Down the road, the ocean yanked
from its cashmere center to write rust on old objects.

Waves spun, slobbered, disappeared. All that weight weeping
onto shore. My friend Virginia is usually right,
especially since she moved away from the desert,

but I was making a language each time
the ocean shouted and bulged.

And all the mornings and twilight, I looked through
its doorway and listened
to perfect circles bend without breaking.


Lauren Camp

Lauren Camp is the author of three books, including One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press), finalist for the Arab American Book Award and winner of the Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Terrain.org, Zócalo Public Square, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ecotone, and Third Coast. A 2018 Visiting Scholar/Poet for the Mayo Clinic (MN) and the recipient of a Black Earth Institute Fellowship, she lives and teaches in New Mexico. Her website is laurencamp.com.