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“Carrying Off the Ravens” Lauren Camp

Carrying Off the Ravens

Lauren Camp

Our quick jackets thrown against dust and we’re out

to a patio, gradually looking

at trees. I have two hours to teach these five

young womento glory their woes and measure

their blessings. We’ve left behind winter’s wide cobwebs

and ditches. The lass next to me drapes flesh to lament

and discusses her clitoris. Another manners

each ripple and reign

of her tenuous heart. The rest of them falter to vowel

their outward tracings.

The wind is housed still

at this snug moment. Listen!

the tree sap, the earth … its entire expanse

has gone slack with a lick of repose.

The women reshuffle to impossible positions

of what’s yet to limit; this is their time

between fair and knotted, the length of such luck.

Around us, almost everything gleams.

I let them ballad their feelings, each mouthful of air

till all is extinguished

by a truck that’s stopped wobbling

down an unseen alley, fetching rotations. Unruly,

it now strews its loading notes, trudges

its drubbings. A constant track as it knits holes

to each other, and we’re hauled to the mayhem

of every exhausting command.

When the fissures finally end,

the landscape is full of the scent of a whisper.


Tall talking leaves. The sun, shiny

and zealous, and those honeyed moody women again

untangle parts of themselves, tipping their language

to wings. Ravens commit to the struggle

of boredom in aspens. Poppies lap

in the laziest breeze. Confessing their flutters.


Originally seen on On the Seawall.