Submission Guidelines: Send unpublished poems in the body of an email (NO ATTACHMENTS) to nvneditor[at] No simultaneous submissions. Use "Verse News Submission" as the subject line. Send a brief bio. No payment. Authors retain all rights after 1st-time appearance here. Scroll down the right sidebar for the fine print.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


by Lauren Camp

Fruit of the mangrove tree Avicennia marina in Nabq Protected Area.

My father filled with pauses so long he forgot how clear the river ran
and the screen of light through the Nabq trees;

many things must have gone wrong, many things, whether every night
or when someone pulled up the white tapestry of home,

pressed and folded. And the singing pots – what if they sang
to desolate sand as men with boxes began the work of stooping over,

and others walked past holding scalloped red pieces of worry? Could a person
leave behind stalls of lemons, honey and wool, leave the lithe lines

of sun in a city grown to the cadence of water? If they were taking it away,
he took what he could in his body: on his thick arms, the turmeric sun,

the hum of the water, his dark eyes like scars. He can’t wake up now

in that place where elders spoke gravel and each sweet sound
of orange. Three times it was fractions and tangles, then common

laconic laments repeating themselves. What he wanted
was waiting, was staying in the “to” of the future, tomorrow –

For what is salaam when you’re leaving your city sun-creased

and hunting? These uncertainties have always been part of his body;
once he was a boy with whooping cough. He walked through the wall

and door of absence and the sky gathered days. Goats and cows stood foolish
and heavy in dirt, but across the world, he didn’t turn around

into that unpredictable ending; instead, he consented to many
slow steps and strange punctuation, and now when he opens his palm,

it’s still filled with edges, still filled with dates.

Lauren Camp's poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Muzzle, you are here, and Solo Novo. She has also guest edited special sections for World Literature Today (on jazz poetry) and for Malpaís Review (on the poetry of Iraq). The author of This Business of Wisdom (West End Press), Lauren blogs about poetry at Which Silk Shirt.