every larkspur and trail fork, why we must leave
domains in the distance, not structure a day
backpacks and bootprints
around someone’s temple—the depth that holds
for hope. Reality is sometimes more
than contours. I’m narrowing down to a specific
in the desert and a time older
the sum of its parts. When water had edges
basins and pine into distance.
often repeated claims two eagle plumes
a pueblo on a land draped with bare places.
dust and from dust, strong arms wrought repeating
and ladders to fathom the sky. Wind bent
reshaped and vanished. The people lived
in dimensions of owl between dawn and moon. Lived hard
their origins as cool water flowed
the mountain. Water was favor, and they named
crossing for fields, fire and horses. Hawks passed above
aimed with grand movement. Around them
time, the people saw violence—new roads, wire fences
closure. The crowd of such disruption creased
reason but they bent again with stone
the corn, transferred thought back to the sparing
returned up their rungs. To gather their senses
they climbed past the amber
of the deer through sun-glare and hills
a lake far from the near earth
the normal. The vessel of nothing but tears,
each other’s reflection. They went to the lake to rename
universe, to say Not today Not
tomorrow, and to measure the cause
their home and of regular days. At the lake ripples
open-mouthed. And look, here’s a danger line: the lake
to the people. To catch their pleas
whatever they do when they need
essential beginning. The strong people
might only have needed the repentant light. Or they might
offered their flaws or other injustice. I’ll never know.
you should never know, and that’s the importance.
I read about the lake’s acquisition, I imagine
spirited flowers that spiral up
water. We all want to be changed
such colors. The truth is other people were given
to hike the beautiful earth
photograph its shimmers. Borrow the blue.
me when do you want others in your prayers? Tell me
how a lake could be taken. The strong people took
as burden, but remembered standing safe
sky when the lake was glad to see them.
crawled over the water without offering
private sequential shape for wounded refrains
invocations. A request isn’t always
solution. The people asked in languages for the
of water, its many windows. They asked
solace. They asked and asked
with drummed cadence. For 64 years, they asked
dented voices, shuffling vowels.
And when the lake was returned, they planted their
its mist, offered it wings, bones and their endings.
* * * *
the Lake from Devotion" is from Turquoise Door
(3: A Taos Press, 2018) by Lauren Camp.
Lauren Camp is the author of four books of poems. Her work has been honored with the Dorset Prize, fellowships from
Black Earth Institute and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and a finalist citation for the Arab American Book
Award. Her poems have been translated into Mandarin, Turkish,Spanish
and Arabic. www.laurencamp.com