Qualms, a poem by Lauren Camp



With wine, I went right
to the open mouth,

took it down, familiar
with the charm of my own particular

sin. It was as if
I had already all the history

of my two worlds,
morning and later—

another street I wouldn’t
have to recognize. Or maybe

those were only
suspicions of conscience.

Little difference the lexicon
if the sense were the mouth of another.

Each half of the day
drunk twice, and no thought

about pauses. Each luxury
of sublingual darkness.

Long sentences
smoothed by spoons.

We sat in our eyes.
One of two was chorus, one held out

his glass at the same time,
emptying nothing. I went home

with peaches after,
with a mind of delay.




Lauren Camp is the author of three books, most recently One Hundred Hungers (Tupelo Press, 2016), winner of the Dorset Prize. Her poems appear in New England Review, RHINO, Poetry International, Slice, Beloit Poetry Journal and elsewhere. Other literary honors include the Margaret Randall Poetry Prize, an Anna Davidson Rosenberg Award, and a Black Earth Institute Fellowship.

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