Phantasmagoria

Technically speaking, we've heard two stories: ours
and the one they've been savoring. I plan to stick to the triumph

of moons and all the bites I can manage. Abundance is the postdrome
of this convex election. What I mean is history has relaxed

to explosions and the formal harangue we first watched
on a TV screen in the suburbs. We were shredding

Dad's brittle tax documents to long ribbons
of dots, and we spit at the man we could hardly audience. 

The other side cheered for his landscape
of hair. Now summer is my view, and my kitchen

is crowded with ants. I prefer to be transported
to sleep, where I vowel REM rotations speaking only one language

of predicted catastrophe. My cats stays unconscious,
trailing her tail down the couch. It's not like I sugar the fanciful

when I sleep. I carry my splinters. When I wake from that kingdom
with insistent parables, I rub my hands

with oil. Give my fingers good reason. Instead of winding
the clock, I blow on my milk and baked hens, screaming

about the surviving reduction. Houses are going to empty
to tantrums, and we have to toil in thumbed notes

to senators while still scrubbing slop off the plates. It's all food
for thought. My friend the priest is desparate

to sing. I am reluctant to become incendiary but can't teeth
the distance and instead drag myself to cafés

to meet others fluent in the psalms
of injustice. My father gives me a blessing to put on his stone

in the event of a wreck. I file it in a folder called Plots. This year
with its venom, roughhouse and judgment...what does it mean

when even the moon is in takeover mode? Do not say
there are more scenes of adoration, more evident texts. My father tells me

he is evaporating and it is this personal violence I need
to be claiming, but every day I am half sunk in America's ready

disturbance. Do you know how to make an eagle? Every last
dignity multiplied in action. My sister has posted another selfie in a red car

where the top is missing, where a storm is all membrane
and never mind all the strategies for water

and lack. What we hold: many empty suitcases and what had not
been before—shadows. My father counts mercy decade by decade

on his knuckles, and I miss his anger. How many people refuse
to goat, which to the Greek was tragic. All that's left

is the lengthening history of trees. I must fool
my eye into seeing the cicadas mining their impossible view

of the world. Gertrude Stein wrote it is strictly American
to conceive a space that is filled with moving. 


Another hurricane is prospecting the Atlantic. In my kitchen, 
the ants are buoyant across the counter, hefting

their crumbs. Deportation, evacuation: the flank
of a brick wall. I think of those houses julienned, of people

to their knees. I keep cleaning my home to the knifemarks
on peaches and the reruns of tree branches. The planet is holding

many streets to be lonesome. To unclench, I need to praise
any two seconds of hope the rest of the day but first let me

palm a capsule for grief and another.
Then give me a falconer's glove and I'll read for talons. 

 

 

Lauren Camp is the author of three books. Her most recent collection, One Hundred Hungers, won the Dorset Prize and was a finalist for the Arab American Book Award, the Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize, and the Housatonic Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Slice, Ecotone, Boston Review, Nashville Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. www.laurencamp.com 

poetryBarzakh Mag