Lauren Camp. All Those Seconds as Far Back as Possible.

22 Sep

ALL THOSE SECONDS AS FAR BACK AS POSSIBLE

The day what belongs to the day…

— Walt Whitman (from “I Hear America Singing”)

The day turns its plain light. Clouds
into letters, holes, doors. The day finds its long
stretches (563 miles) and a small boy
with straight hair, giggling, luminous
within boyhood. Each hour a day to talk
to a woman, once blind, who works in scrap
metal, to rise above Baltimore, to stand
on a Michigan dock as steam tumbles
up from the lake and its reservoir. Watch
a woman in multiple braids with extra
bags, another in white shorts strip an avocado
with teeth. To hear one woman whisper
an apology. See a man pull his jacket further
around him. A day that belongs to the driver,
the pilot, people at cell phones, urgent
and tired. A routine and a losing: the simple
drapes on small windows, a trail through beech
as the sun becomes an authority
on setting. A day and its hours of raptors
on picnic tables, the mayhem
of small printed words in a notebook, a single
rotation of laughter, of dropped papers, a day
to discuss with a stranger the erotic implications
of hanging oneself with a belt from a chair, to see
a small photo of three children dressed
for a tea party, to kneel beside a man with a lisp,
a man placid with his canes. A man with a smile
though his son is embarrassed. A day, unrepaired.
A day that dares to have boundaries,
and the very same night. What belongs
to the homeless man standing between
streets. What belongs to the morning,
the failure, borrowed jackets, a day to turn
back, to spill a green mug of old joe down
the drain. Pass a chain with a sign saying
don’t enter. The freedom to enter a day
or a night with two folded bills on a table,
a cab ride to a room with three beds, a day
built up from accents and paper bags
of fried foods. A day of delays, of filling
the gas tank, of turning left, of exactly the time
it takes to get anywhere, through a span
of orange cones shrugging the road, of replying
I love you. Of emptying the cartons, of bellies
of soup, of turning the covers on the bed
you know best, of small pills cut in quarters
to sleep and of sleeping with glimpses.

 

whitmanprintproject

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