Poetry by Lauren Camp

Animals in the Undoing 

When the sun pushed down the jungle, monkeys barked 

and growled eternal reason. In that valley, the fishing 

globe of heat shrank to swallowed shadow, little cries 

of other possibilities. My eyes could hardly claim 

the fading. What I saw from the top of the East Temple 

at Yaxha was the sky feverish with new paintings, 

then slipped to a slurry thinner and thinner. Reb Nahum said 

“Faith comes at the end of reasoning.” A bit of light 

courted the knolls of the river below. An entire purpose 

it made as it fled. From my massive stone perch, 

I could nearly grasp the cluttering dark. 

Back to Shine Year

The town I love is built in a circle 

with long-dried mud and the sadness 

of batches of people who have never

fit in. Somewhere between 

the year I shone and this, I began 

to bend again 

to joy, to find an innocent will 

to whisper all the little

nimble cheer, to see 

in the brush each slight 

life held to the sandglare 

of summer, the entreaty to bewildering 

winter, and all the stars

suspended in action. Of course the weather

continues its blades and sweat and wind

annoys with long-forming 

rejoicing. A robin sits silent on 

her ribboned sticks. With my breath, I plead 

for the mama, her monochrome

body just out my window

below an empathetic sky. I’m garbled 

with love, its achievements, as much 

as with worry. Every time I am molested 

by the prickly lies and bruising 

capacities that flummox

this world, the people in power that bed

what is easily beckoned and the greed

rooting in, my sister sends videos 

of my father dancing, 

lending his fat-sirened body to others 

and twirling the delicate 

hips of one of the aides who cares 

for him. His inattention 

teaches me the geography 

of kindness. This must be eternity:

these eight moving seconds, his twist,

carefree, revolving, on my phone—

and now looking out, I see

the robin elders are standing, feeding

their needy young.

About the contributor

Lauren Camp is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020). Her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic, and honored with the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. www.laurencamp.com

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