Lauren Camp’s poem points to the surprise intersection of destruction and tenderness, a place that some men have surely occupied at some point or another.
One Sunday morning I was digging a hole
for a thyme. Warm sun sat on my knees.
I shoved a red-handled trowel to earth,
and pressed with the heel of my hand.
The blade squealed as I poked open
a hole filled fine with fur
to a kindle swaddled in twigs
and dry leaves, coated in ground.
The light-bruised hollow was wrong,
and no longer beneath, so I patched
the warren with layers of land,
veiled out the light. Two mornings later
(with the mother still AWOL),
old jeans. Outside, he gathered
the five tender forms
in his gloved palm. They wriggled
and he wrapped them in cloth
and he put them soft in a dishpan,
green as spring. Light was seeded
with gray. He might have talked to them,
everything he never says
about hunger and need. He held them
under the faucet by the apricot tree,
where nature was climbing the bark
and its branches. He covered them in water
while I slept, consecrated those five
alone bodies in sleep
while the warm-flowered dawn
helped me plant dreams. I saw what I saw
through closed eyes as tree shadows fell,
and the effort
the moisture poured over those hearts.
First published in Sin Fronteras
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