Lauren Camp

Small Scenes without Apology
April 24, 2022 Camp Lauren

Small Scenes without Apology


Remember the daughters.
We keep valuing each swallow. We need him to be still     certain, still
angry. His thoughts go again
through. Let him fix on the skin of a question…which one    
are you? 


We savor
ordinary flickers. No longer his signature: that E
a double-bellied vessel. We pay others
to dance with him. You could say the cost of removing


the emphatic was comfort. Everyone else in the place is reading
the wind at night. The moon dips
without witness. We moved him in and now
the father sits in the courtyard


taking shade. We omit everything
we know. His crisp calculations of bounty


are butter-scented eggs from the red pan. Over    easy and over
again. Breakfast anywhere
you go because day spiders along and Dad
puts his fingers to the eyes on his plate. Murmurs a certain and


we’re back to how small what he conjures
as celebration. Half        a sentence
climbs to its end, then he looks down       divides it.


When we leave (we will leave) he’ll sit plump
in his green cap. He is content    as clouds. All of them
not moving. He is relieved


of a secret. Who am I?  he asks
on a day or the opposite. I count a mess
of minutes and breaths
and can’t fix a thing. The clock is completing its dreams.

Lauren Camp is a 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate fellow and the author of seven books, most recently An Eye in Each Square (River River Books) and Worn Smooth between Devourings (NYQ Books). Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, Housatonic Book Award and Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Arabic, and have recently appeared in Missouri Review, Poem-a-Day and Mid-American Review. She currently serves as Poet Laureate of New Mexico.­