between pleasure and arrowheads.
I want you to be aware, I will not remember
meeting by the low-slung first floor window
where we all arrive less than
astonished, our tongues to our teeth.
Now that O’Keeffe is dead, they’ve found all the robes
she never needed lined up in a closet
that has not been opened for years.
Colors barren, the robes stubbornly hanging.
I think about the woman with the palest skin
sitting across the table from me. Think most
of the cavernous spaces opaque by her eyes.
In this room, we always start by composing a brief statement
of how we fit in. No one remains silent.
No mention of transience. I sit next to the director,
erasing his answers to another question.
At worst, there is always the hallway,
more shrill fluorescence, the woman across from me
wrinkling again. All of her fading
is private. All her de-tasseling.
Not everyone is outlined in danger.
Not all people are churning.
The remainder of us are audience.
We have to get out of here.
Outside, the wind moves across, exploring
further confusions. Somewhere in the world
another person is killed
in another building while I’m sitting
in this conference room writing down
each sentence as if readying
to answer each consecutive regret.
There are always uneven numbers placed beside us,
always black-lipped strangers, always such gashes
of history: photos of boys with bone.
I gave them my name.
I don’t know how to give them every border
I’ve spilled through—or the times I wanted
to go home through summer’s collar
and feel my beloved cold on my mouth.
To be unchanged when the wind is in recess.
~ Lauren Camp
Lauren Camp is the author of three books, most recently ‘One Hundred Hungers’ (Tupelo Press, 2016), winner of the Dorset Prize. Her poems have appeared in Poetry International, Feminist Studies, The Human, World Literature Today and elsewhere. Other literary honors include the Margaret Randall Poetry Prize, the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award, and a Black Earth Institute Fellowship.