For Sale

In the spectacular town where I live, the sun offers
        forty-two medicines every hour and I’ve
        never been somewhere

as intricately cinnamon or poised. Most people here talk
        of planets and divisions
        of retrograde. We all need excuses. I don’t

have even limited knowledge
        of astrology, so I just now Googled
        and learned the sun controls ego and self, and today

my husband quit his job with the angry
        realtor who runs in and out of his downtown
        office and stages his frustration

about bank details as he jiggles
        cold keys. My sweetest left him an invoice and Sorry, I’m done
        with this attitude
in the perfect cursive

he’s used since fourth grade, then got in his truck and went
        to the corner for fuel. Saw a homeless man squatting
        in a small diameter with a gas can

and guitar, a grin. My man filled that little tin tank
        and drove Carl across the street. Carl wants to start
        a circus, my sweetest tells me, and I think we all want

to conjure new ways to loop
        from daily rituals, the muscle of pandemonium
        and anger surrounding our heavy times. Want bold

enchantment, the sugar of thickened color. Across town, right then
        I was at the gym: left, right, obedient
        core, and after, in the locker room, talking easy

to a woman changing into a robin’s egg
        blue swimsuit. We savored tales of the waists
        of our gardens, my slow timid

aspens with their tiny gold bells. She said she had extra Theves
        poplars and do I want them. Yes, I want them, I
        said, because I need tall 

and stable in this life. After all, isn’t there always a cannon
        of news? To evade it, I again go online
        learning what seems ridiculous: ranks

of sentences. Declarative, imperative,
        interrogative, exclamatory. The very substance
        of dare, of wound, beginning. No one knows

which bends the most. In my rural village, a neighbor is selling
        tiki torches (10) and bottles
        of fuel; someone else has a picture of multiple

tires on Craigslist. Everyone is selling
        something to someone. Everything is switching
        hands. Did you know there is new violence

in Gaza, people throwing burning tires and rocks? How we tell time
        has a perimeter. Around us, shifting
        performers. An open air prison. Filled with its sentences.

Lauren Camp

Lauren Camp is the author of four poetry collections. Her poems appear in Witness, Western Humanities Review, Poet Lore, World Literature Today, and in the anthologies Ghost-Fishing (University of Georgia Press, 2018) and 12 Poetas (Ediciones La Herrata Feliz, 2017). She is the recipient of the Dorset Prize, a Black Earth Institute fellowship, residencies from Willapa Bay AiR and The Taft-Nicholson Center, and a finalist citation for the Arab American Book Award. Her work has been translated into Mandarin, Turkish, Spanish and Arabic.