That sun-bruised earth? The landscape is still
in my sweat. Slow pollen, no clouds. We went past bricks and locks
to a web of painted heat. We chose it.
As if that climate of vines
with its minimum perfection of wasted day could undo the clockwork
of life. It’s been a while or the whole heap of time.
Logs balanced on trees. Easy sinking, soft earth.
People spoke singing consonants.
The whole place was in supple collapse,
scrawled with its salt-thick ragged wreck
of volition. Far from the surf, we hung around
in multiple versions of glare. Around us piles of tires: extinct
vehemence. The crimson-lipped light kept us
from moving so we lolled in the white swing,
legs drawn to the ledge, tolerating the labor
of pause. God it was good
to unletter the earth, though then I thought of such inaction
as boredom, aware as I was of the emptying
calendar of days. I didn’t desire
indolence. The landscape seeped on,
and our skin held it. Why bother to remember?
We left, hurtled to the plane. Through an arch, a tunnel, that eager
perpetual course. What we’ve done since then—
what is it? a sadness? a seam? I think how joyous
it was when the moon resolved
to bless the street. It mattered a lot, that cool chance
after the prolonged day flanked to its knees, defending its heat.
Lauren Camp is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico. Honors include a Dorset Prize and a finalist citation for the Arab American Book Award. She was Astronomer in Residence at Grand Canyon National Park in 2022. Her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, and Arabic. www.laurencamp.com