a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Trumpet vine blossoms reach high
in private. On the phone, I hear Dad drift
towards the next
clipped thought and each simple
lunch. His words dip, drowsy, a growl
heading nowhere and we’re mixed up
with sparse reinforced darkness. No need
to roundabout; my throat is fixed in flecks
of each switched misery
as he counts again the hours, all
most radiant. He says it is raining.
The light is extraordinary in its climb
to the reflection of my window; its seeing-into
is rarely so alert. A finch brings a stick
and another to the same nest
he builds each year. Each fine stem hitched
on the beam of the porch. Now almost
a home. We all call our hard edges
home. Each year the nest holds a clutch.
My father attaches to another
fraying or the ordinary
study of currency or eternity. Each year
the brood is taken or dropped.
Empty eaves, the wind, and now his mind.
It is almost time. Where the owl sits, a scrawled moon
glorifies his back. The horizon has become trees
in a line, the lines inside a din of winter.
He assumes the yellow-eyed stare
of the ravenous. His stuttering call drops
from snags and ledges. Now, the owl’s cloak of gray
vaults the road. We can hardly breathe. Such bracing.
We know what it is to pursue prey, to be pursued,
to offer others our softest feathers.
The bird rides the clean dry cold
to another movement, another seize in the ghostly night.
At the dinner table, we listen
to the ripping. The grip is fierce. Finished,
the owl rests—sovereign, and we do not want to see.
Lauren Camp is the author of three books, most recently One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), which won the Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared in Flyway, The Fourth River, Terrain.org, North American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal and elsewhere. Some of her poems have been translated into Turkish, Mandarin and Spanish. She is the producer and host of Santa Fe Public Radio’s “Audio Saucepan,” which interweaves music with contemporary poetry. www.laurencamp.com.