Lauren Camp


2 poems



Put your eyes here, she says. Most of what he wants
is to show her a crust

in the corner, a bouquet
of crust. I watch his eyes, his fingernails with their sharp
edges, a thought taken

back and forth to the wall
several times. What he knows of perspective

is the interior center. He whispers. One silence

follows another as she turns
off the light. He enters
the caves

of letters, tiny secret sounds. Insignificant. He touches
the technician’s curls. Points

of interest. Rest in the chair, she says. Blink

He squeezes his eyes, wanting to be honest. The middle haze
like a motion
and he tilts

his bald head, the letters shut
to bows and arrows. Circular instruments, lamp and cage
against his skull and her

Haitian, the technician’s slightly piled
accent, and the combinations—now numbers:
Which is sharper? All

his responses
unstable. The gray

of the room bends
the quiet. The combinations continue—replies

keep disappearing. One acute
retina exposed. His vision
is fragments

that change superstition to logic. His mind

for seconds classifying
the crust, building his name from something
that will

never again be
a full combination.



We consumed with both hands, tasting the pig
or sweet onion. Coaxed
the raw to our mouths. What had barely begun,

the long line of plates. We asked for the sugared
then No, not enough. We asked again
in the emptiness. He said If you drive off forever, the world,

which was perfect will become various.
A motorcycle passed
in the hollows of our breathing. Every night

all the language a terrain not as terrible
as the thrashing of meat from our spit.
Please, can we have some more fatty questions,

a table to the left? How obvious we were.
More of the musk
of such clutching, and where to put his signature

in me. As if we had already lost everything,
we requested every cream,
every greed. My whole body was warm

in the mouth, starved for its grief.
I would have eaten whatever was most bloody,
and held my hand to my throat.

Lauren Camp is the author of three books, including One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), which won the Dorset Prize. She was a finalist for the Arab American Book Award and has received the Dorset Prize and other honors. Her poems have appeared in Slice, Ecotone, Boston Review, Nashville Review and Beloit Poetry