Poetry by Cameron Morse

Dido

Theo dismantles the bird 

bath, tips its scalloped 

cement dish into the ambiguous 

rock bed of my childhood 

when I cried out 

for Dido, imaginary love 

of my life, Scarlett 

Johansson in Lost in 

Translation. Some 

mornings I am lost, like she was, 

in Tokyo before she 

became Black Widow. 

My son bites the ice out 

of dog water

while wind gathers 

at the cedar foot 

of the fence a long row 

of autumn leaves. 

Level with me, Augustine, 

what was it like to be 

a fourth century boy? 

Some mornings on this side

of my past life, I altogether 

vanish into my stupid 

student days at Calvin 

when I was in unrequited 

love with Calgary. 

I missed every chance 

I had with Grand Rapids.   

Night Mare

Now night is synonym 

of mare, her dark

falling hair, her flail. 

I brace myself 

somewhere in the middle 

on a bed rail, I blow  

down one breath, suck in

another. Nowhere 

in my years was I prepared

for this midnight wail. 

She is the sins of the father, 

Mother Rage, the every

thing wrong of generations, 

the sum total of torture. 

I am the shield, the back pat

on a crying baby, story

time with the troubled two

year old, too old for his years.

Afterwards in aftermath 

I wonder how wrong I am 

to relish this morning, 

this quiet interplay of shadow 

and light, a shadow play 

on Minyon’s white vinyl fence, 

her swimming pool’s waggle

dance of reflected light 

in the shadow of the eaves.  

Snowmelt

Dewy December 

morning two days before 

Christmas, Moby shivers 

oscillating b/n 

two frequencies: 

here and there, past dog, 

future dog. Snow clings 

to shadow. 

Our memories melt 

in the sun. 

Follow the two faintly 

honking geese 

on their wayward journey 

and they’ll lead you 

home. Say hello

to the shaking dog. 

Say goodbye

to the migratory birds. 

Dew soaks into the toes 

of your tennis shoes. 

All of a Sudden

Autumn all of a sudden

catches the house fly locked out of the house.  

Hooked on a second-story window 

screen that yesterday bared onto endless 

summer, the nervous guest fingers 

the gridwork while cold rain blotches 

the walk below. Autumn all of a sudden sweeps 

its mason jar off the butcher block

at breakfast, and I feel thankful for the pair 

of tube socks I fetched from the lowest drawer 

of my chest, the slippers I slipped 

out of the sideboard, plucking splinters 

of glass from my foot pads. Evening before,  

we beat the rain back by minutes, arrowing 

straight into northern darkness.

The old dog slipped out of his collar and dashed 

upstairs. I cornered him in the guest

bedroom and he snarled. Later, 

the younger one whimpered himself out of the crate, 

the cockapoo, nestled below my legs.  

Figures

Sunrise hatches 

light among the clouds. 

Sunrise buries its white 

stone of light among the clouds. 

I speak in tongues 

because literal fact defies description.

You will see it if you want to. 

I speak in figures

because the sky has broken out

in clouds and even their reflection 

in the charcoal hood 

of Mariah’s Hyundai Accent 

defies description. 

From the moment autumn began, 

I have wanted nothing 

but to describe correctly the cold, 

the squirrels and the blue jays. 

The squirrel poised in branch rustle 

above me springs. The gable thumps. 

The blue jay alights, fanning 

blue diamond wings into the dark

auspices of the red maple 

from which Lili carries Theo, 

talking excitedly about a garage sale 

on 3rd street, a dollhouse for 

our unborn daughter.  

Poet Cameron Morse

Cameron Morse is published in numerous magazines. His debut collection won Best Book Award in The Glass Lyre Press contest in 2018

His latest is Baldy (Spartan Press, 2020)

https://cameronmorsepoems.wordpress.com/

About the contributor

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