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2 poems by Jamie Cameron



if we could die

imagine if

after all this we might

wake up

for a last time

hard to believe it

what we might

leave behind

before we had finished

any one thing

of lasting benefit

our lives

emptying out like

a stadium

everybody filing toward

the exits

the indrawn breath

odd lights still on

nothing left to do

to be done

to be done to —

Root Canal

‘And what is good, Phaedrus,

And what is not good –

Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?’

- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig

I have spent all morning

going through his things.

There isn’t much worth keeping:

a few certificates, his dog-eared Pirsig,

this picture of us both, taken the day

he knocked my teeth down my throat.

I recall the walk to the hospital,

alone in the dark, my tongue flinching

as it made a map of the new space,

and then it went still.

It was in that moment

I realised I had a soul.

It was wrapped in tissue paper in my pocket,

and it wanted to be numbed very bad.

I put it beside me on the chair

in the waiting room.

He arrived and sat one spot along.

It lay between us like a secret.

And when they called my name -

amid the smell of antiseptic,

the drill’s whine - the doctor joked

the soul didn’t want to go back in.

You can see it in this photo

how the teeth healed. The way each root

slipped back into the gap it’d left.

It was only over time

a single tooth turned grey,

and started to drift gently

away from the rest.


Jamie Cameron is a poet from the Midlands, currently studying for a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. Away from writing he spends most of his time playing or coaching basketball."


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