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2 Poems By Lauren Camp

This was originally posted on The Los Angeles Review.



In my end is my beginning.
— T.S. Eliot


My father is all

at once. It is noon and widens

further into another

landscape of feet.

The words he uses are a measure

of the half-point

to silence. We listen

to the mirror on the wall

and my father is bent

down with

grizzle and returning

spaces. My father reminds me

of my father. Father

as conveyance, as legal

document, as night flight, lost

pitch. Next question. For something

to do, we name the body

by streaming daylight:

knee, nerve, stomach. Reason

the tender sound of sun. Name hope

as a pleasantry. We are spending

our time folded

into it, finding

ourselves. We are not

doing nothing. We are planning

the task of letting go

of all thought and my father is root

and tree. I put my hand

on his hand

and build a small

mountain. I haven’t described

his voice. An hour passes again.

A sound not said. A negative

ghost. A rain

unbuckles the leaves.

Perhaps we’ll look

in the mirror and see

what just happened—

what I mean

is, the future.


Stay Into 


Not the absence of sky but the sudden

work of life: lance or ash, shovel,

notch or wince, I begin

inside myself to sing a prayer


for nourishment a feat

of the spirits I was taught one summer

at a wooden table, a knot

of bread, the euphony


of childhood I memorized

those unwrapped syllables rolling

immersion over years the words

have gone

I take to rhapsodic humming it was


never bounty

but simplicity

a time spun to habit ordinary

inclination a sort of fantasy

god I adored that childhood


those colors I made from my breathing

even the dimly, the stubborn farthest pitches

all this time I’ve kept

on the lip that ancient song map the divine

worn smooth between devourings.



Lauren Camp is the author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press), which Publishers Weekly calls a “stirring, original collection.” Honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic.


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