Yes, it was splendid, praying holy
with liquor to the twelve-bar pattern
of his tragic. Our hands and fingers,
the interior weather, such latent languor.
The waiter was never far from the mouth
of our error and ready to please us,
to place fuller glasses beside us,
filled with disorder. Over and over
we sat at a table without days,
our lips scarlet with logic
and random syntax. We sat through
summer’s collar, sat through sweet mustard
and drought, my soft opinions,
his signatures, then winter’s slaughtering
wind spread on the desert.
We perfected hours: our small infinities
and unremarkable habits. The flesh,
our last words. Of course,
at some point, we at the table
were reminded only of breathing:
that echo and echo.
Lauren Camp is the author of four books. Her poems have appeared in Cave Wall, Spillway, Sixth Finch, Tar River and elsewhere. Her honors include the Dorset Prize and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award, and a finalist citation for the Arab American Book Award. An emeritus Black Earth Institute fellow, she lives and teaches in New Mexico.www.laurencamp.com