Cell Theory

The sun is begging emotion and we’re hazed as pennies
beneath it. Every person who is weighed out
in the dicey season knows what exists
is last years’ reduced consonants and the fallow reminder of friends
taking three views of hard questions. Clouds dispense
their rigged back light. Blameless
unseizing but it must be noted I see
only from the mustardy window. Sidewalks go on
with the usual onus of old rights. I’ve got a heart and liver
that remember a scandalous companion
and if I never had used them like that I couldn’t have gone
between hours until I could
finally say after. In those chilled rooms I left what came
to the table behind. The core of my thoughts
followed the center of glasses and felt like a skinful
of heat. I’ve told you all this before and it’s fine. It’s not
that I’m blameless, just that tarnish
is done dragging through its chapters or so
I pretend and now down the hall someone has taken a drill
to the eggs. She is scalloping a new story I have yet
to see. Everyone here is closed in rooms that open
with calluses of numbers. Everyone is divining
tart moments of detail. Aren’t we all
in some way devoured? Between parsley bits, we talk
about how we are
not meant to leave but we leave
for the city, for the entire bargain of rain.
Any half-clarified fancy is always my first choice
to flash through a diary I refuse
to keep and I store it
by first lines and visions. I purvey each separate past
then disguise them together as mash.
The train hatch goes on its brief belled summary.
Take apart what I’ve told you. All the news is about
lying. About pushing events into incentives. There is so much
metonymy: all of it another bite at an endless
permission. There are so many willing participants.
Every afternoon I eat
a red apple. When are people not
hungry? I lay down outside as it further unbuttons.

Lauren Camp is the Poet Laureate of New Mexico and author of five books, most recently Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020). Two new books—Worn Smooth Between Devourings (NYQ Books) and An Eye in Each Square (River River Books)—are forthcoming in 2023. Her honors include the Dorset Prize and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, Housatonic Book Award, and Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry.