Lauren Camp


Trains tuck into the station
then resuscitate with resilient cadence.
These days unlike
other days you know are an anatomy
of sound and weather. Clamor, advance.

It is enough of a purpose to move through—
to concentrate on moist earth odors.
Rain at the gate. Leaves
dive from trees. Ringing bells.

Inside white rooms insist
on accurate measure
moving to proof. The doors are all
locked in this ongoing sequence.

So you are loose on the path.
The harbor licks the road, rolling up and along.
Even as the fog flings out, ducks frock.

Men fish in morning orange, thigh-deep,
the rods continual. How fine
the line until it tarps.

Red-berried groundcherry buttons its coat.
The sky is wild as goats.
It is as if all the concentration you need
is where the land clamps.


Make a Door That Will Last

When I am doing
research, I somehow
get to the place
on my screen
where a swastika
has been left fast
on a building. I am
snared in that symbol
that holds
vanishing. The air is cool
from yesterday’s
seeping vapor. Deep pines pudge
in a row. A cemetery
falls over itself, rounded.
Next day, a walk turns
through spikemoss, grapefern, clawmarks
sorting. Taking in little
of nature’s logical hungers,
I instead loiter
in parenthesis:
the squat town, rattling truck.
you’d say. You should
say that. Self-portrait as guttural
sign. As floor,
focus, wrath. Steep
slope, weakened rock.
A road curves its green
itinerary. The sun has eaten
the wind and lands
where every dark
corner has labeled notes.


Lauren Camp serves as New Mexico Poet Laureate. She is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently In Old Sky (Grand Canyon Conservancy, 2024). In 2022, she was chosen as the fourth Astronomer-in-Residence at Grand Canyon National Park. Camp is a recipient of the Dorset Prize, finalist commendations for the Arab American Book Award and Adrienne Rich Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and Black Earth Institute. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish, French, and Arabic.­