Lauren Camp

Note to a Man in Wales with Remorse
by Lauren Camp

When we talk about failure, I know
there’s a daughter, a son, a banner of damp
hills and each door to a farmhouse
well-proportioned. I already know that is just
as you like it. Outside, I can hear
the trees creaking as they rest on the roof
in the wind. You might say they lie
on the roof, from Old English, licgan,
and then I think you may not say roof,
so I Google it up and find instead
why do British say bloody and remember
your mouth. Your face sticks
in my memory. There’s only one
newer photo, but no one has it. Here,
I stay hidden in my tiny house, a hovel
you called it, and I still keep it elaborately empty
with eyebrows of light. I wonder if you
noticed that, and how is your vision? Did you see
that the bed stayed to itself beyond
doorways when you leaned in close
with your elbows? I didn’t yield, and I liked
that I wouldn’t give affection to the half-
cornered evening, to an almost
stranger. My capacious self with honey
on my tongue, I talked twice as little, in minutes,
but how would you know? I could have
traded the full for the detail, but I made
a choice, and then stayed awake—trying
to figure out which I do, lie or lay,
or both, when I’m turned around—
as you made me. As it happens,
when you left, I went to my bed, and the body
of moon lay by my side, pulsing. I tell you
I saw it. I rose, and stroked it,
though all I could touch was the brim
and puff just developing. No, I’m not lying.
Right then I was wearing only my necklace
of delicate language, only the room,
my arms, every hesitation, and I hardly knew
how to silence this body.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 3.

Lauren CampPoet and radio host Lauren Camp is the author of two books, most recently The Dailiness, winner of the National Federation of Press Women Poetry Prize. Her third book, One Hundred Hungers, won the Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press, 2016). Lauren is a 2015-2018 Black Earth Institute Fellow.

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