A Gravitational Lens
(or How My Mother Returned)
by Lauren Camp
I stand in a pool of systemic sunshine, watching my mother command her small skiff through molecules of descending heaven. She has never appeared in a green boat before. She rubs wooden oars across the sand: one in, one out. I love her like this. She’s beautiful, but faint. I’m surprised that she is an elegant seafarer, but the rabbi remarked on her contradictions and strength at her funeral. Of course, then I wasn’t listening. In all these years, she’s had time to navigate the engine of death. She tosses a cape over the arch of her back. My mother has dark hair again. She offers a slight smile, which I almost miss. The molten sky floats by. A silken sun settles in my pocket. I watch only the route of my mother. She slicks the boat through dry land, rowing past an irrelevant swell of dust. I’ve never seen her this forceful. I am enthralled that the desert opens to her. For the first time in a decade, I am calm, waiting out the banner of wind from the west, and looking both ways into a glowing sea of ruffled light, my palms full of broken eyeglasses.
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"A Gravitational Lens" was first published in you are here and is in Lauren Camp's collection The Dailiness (Edwin E. Smith Publishing, 2013).
Lauren Camp’s newest book is Took House (Tupelo Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, Slice, DIAGRAM and other journals. Winner of the Dorset Prize, Lauren has also received fellowships from The Black Earth Institute and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and finalist citations for the Arab American Book Award, the Housatonic Book Award and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. www.laurencamp.com