In those six days as he was
an innocent tenant. As this incarnate form.
Outside, the sun fanned the grass. Bore down
on tree line: ash, maple.
We cleaned his house of panic.
Produced absolution with confidence, or wanted to.
Into his ear, I named two places:
here and there, though I was alarmed by the oncoming
travel. It had been a weeping spring
and would go on. Tulips straight
on tiny stems. Neighbors building what becomes them.
My heart those days was made of time,
by which I mean distraction. Every word
a sip, a pause, a story granted
all its spilling. The nurse checked his pulse.
His face. Slowly, a latchet of movement.
I remained in the middle
of a sentence, wanting nothing
more than for the light
to make its spaces, halving everything left.
Lauren Camp is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico and author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press). Two new books—Worn Smooth Between Devourings (NYQ Books) and An Eye in Each Square (River River Books)—are forthcoming in 2023. Honors include a Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Massachusetts Review and Poet Lore, and her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic. www.laurencamp.com