Back to Issue Twenty-Three.

Taste the Part Between Us



Today the ordinary crusade of home, its wild bones
as daughter to the sword-cocked weapon of the heart. It is all left

unfinished, lifted from a failure of attention and the outermost tongue

of stone. We took a way around to loneliness, a private garden.
I met him here, my answers were a glass of fish. I meet him

here after three potted orchids. All this to wander
into my storage shape for father. Even his fisted words
were skin, his love a bread. May this time suit us better, this gaunt

adventure, the place the rare self comes to bloom. Each fraction
of regret would fragrant. I think of this year as a sort of knowing.

Yesterday, he could still nitpick

a nickel. Now the winnowing of people waiting
for dinner. All that hunger.

My answers are as good as the terror from which songs are made. I listen

as he calls the dead on a broken phone and talks
for hours, what he remembers of searching, his searching

a rhythm that plays in my chest all night. I catch
the green goodbyes, the silty footing.

He carries broken birds.

These days I read inside
each shifting. How nearly I missed his softness.



Each Day Borrows Him



We have noon enough and that is all.
Along the walls, other men with eager names.
Now upstairs, the deck and plates of chicken.

We have between the sky and strainers.
The door no one mentions.
Minus such danger, lest he disappear. We have aides

and suffocations: the smeared sun.
We stand together and point though none of us agree

on the location of the parking lot.
Let’s be anecdotal: what he knew

is placed by the door, brooding.
Every day he awakes to his unshaped translation
of how adrift the air. The light switches.

We have switches. A round pill, a slitted oblong,
a palm for a minute. We return and turn

words by the fish, and watch the fish
in a wrapped portion of pauses. Later, I will know what to say

but then I tried to listen
to the purple transparent flowers
in a hundred liminal states.

I touch the top of his head where the rough spots
are no longer spilling. Nothing and everything—



Lauren Camp is the author of three books, most recently One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), which won the Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared in New England ReviewMuzzle MagazineSlice MagazineSeattle ReviewBeloit Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She is Black Earth Institute Fellow and the producer and host of Santa Fe Public Radio’s Audio Saucepan. Learn more at

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