Lauren Camp

Lauren Camp
is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in The Los Angeles ReviewPleiades, Poet Lore, Slice, DIAGRAM and other journals. Winner of the Dorset Prize, Lauren has also received fellowships from The Black Earth Institute and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic.


First he slouched further toward the center
of sadness, the abstraction
of losing. How would he separate colors
from whites? We thought

he’d turn under, but a year had gone past
and he picked up his head (though it wouldn’t lift
all the way). He field-tripped
to a farm 30 miles on, and he walked

to the clubhouse in flip-flops, which he bought
one day after they carried her off
in black plastic. He wanted to wear them,
despite what she’d said about tripping.

In those after months, he abandoned
potato chips, survived the claws of old hours.
He signed up for kale recipes daily,
and Facebook, and his blood pressure

is finally resting at normal.
His hearing aid loosened.
In his hands, he takes the rotten dark.
He gets on a stage with his competent phrasings.

Even though he hates abiding
a camera because he feels his unlimited
wrinkles, we see all of a sudden, he is
hardly quiet. Had he been

the wrong self? He loved her
of course. We figured he was about to give in.
But he began turning on lights.
Such an innocent rising.

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