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To Them I Whisper Either Or

Lauren Camp

It all happens in slow motion.

Every person eats and belongs

in their minutes of song and blood and the naked

wind. If there is a welter

of doubt, we figure to keep

to the screen. If one

rants about dirt, another makes an issue

of the dark sign of leaves. The air porched

or frozen. We throw back

concerns about what we’ll do next

until something notches up as it always does

and margin to margin, we repeat

some part of any routine. We prop up our grammar

to ask questions that turn the dark home.

It’s not that I mind kneeling

into each bend of the future

for a theory of how to adapt,

it’s that now we talk

only of the center

of doors. A century ago

there were twenty-three

unsolvable problems

and men who cinched in and studied

obedient until they knew

with deliberate skill what needed

to be known. Look at us today. We feel only

the smallest logic. My god,

we can’t figure anything but what to exclude.

Lauren Camp is the poet laureate of New Mexico. Her most recent book is Took House. Read more about her at her website.