What a Wave Is

by Lauren Camp


I watch the moon lean against the branches empty
trees wrap its curves to the scent of spring its green
rhetoric its meaning is damp from yesterday’s downpour quick
and hard we felt a scarf of water the day arrived perfectly
promised suddenly I’m throwing clothes into a red suitcase
among bottles of shampoo to cure my sister her split
ends and socks for chill and this for sticky heat today I leave
home for a chain hotel on the west side near the beach
with my father’s white stubble his silence his mornings
and all of his exits we’re close to the hum of his final few
sentences that might last for years untidy and daring
me to hold his face again in my hands let him paint
and bingo be content to go slightly missing to lower
his pants to pish as he says now and someday won’t
know to let the water run his mind and my mother
hovering nearby in her angel suit intoning how much
she misses our successes I don’t want to be
facing the breeze or feeling what fits under my fear

LAUREN CAMP is the author of four collections. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry JournalIMAGE, Slice, New England Review, The Cortland Review, and elsewhere. Her honors include the Dorset Prize and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award, finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award, and the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize, and a Black Earth Institute fellowship. She lives and teaches in New Mexico. www.laurencamp.com

Photo: “Untitled” by Grafik Mekanik