With wine, I went rightto the open mouth,took it down, familiarwith the charm of my own particularsin. It was as ifI had already all the historyof my two worlds,morning and later—another street I wouldn’thave to recognize. Or maybethose were onlysuspicions of conscience.Little difference the lexiconif the sense were the mouth of another.Each half of the daydrunk twice, and no thoughtabout pauses. Each luxuryof sublingual darkness.Long sentencessmoothed by spoons.We sat in our eyes.One of two was chorus, one held outhis glass at the same time,emptying nothing. I went homewith peaches after,with a mind of delay.
“Qualms” from TOOK HOUSE: by Lauren Camp.
Published by Tupelo Press 2020.
Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Camp.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
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 and the North American Book Award. Her poems have appeared in New England Review, Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal and The Los Angeles Review, and been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic.
“Here is a particular heart and mind removing its shield in order to commune, to help us see the world again, more deeply and more strangely, and reader, I am grateful.”
—Allison Benis White
“Lauren Camp’s Took House is an astonishing, enchanted world of nature and cityscape, interior terrains, art-making and witnessing all at once. ‘That night the sky came up to my lips’, she writes, ‘It tasted of wind, and gave me something to miss.’ The collection is an exploration of nostalgia, how it manifests in literal and metaphorical borderlands, the way we are always transforming and undoing ourselves along with the worlds we inhabit: ‘Such endeavor, / all of these seasons’. Towards the end of the collection, she writes, ‘I returned empty, without.’, with the tenor of someone who understands emptiness is its own kind of abundance. A marvelous collection!”