First Longing

by LAUREN CAMP

 

 

          This morning I drove off to forget
the lines of crow, the clot of burning
          smog, the double-sided
                                        fire-light: its mislaid desire. No more
                              talk about the carpet of wanting 

          a life not clasped in ash. Already,     
I’m collecting ghosts on the bricks
          of a different patio. Don’t you wish
                                        you could be here? Right now, 
          where you are, helicopters 

          have been crossing, leaving white tracks
in the tide of sky. I will forget the sky
          with reddened gesture, glad to be not altered
                                        by each twitched wind. I’ll go
          about sleeping, or setting up my prayers. Merely
this—a guttural hope
    
          for what’s meant for me.  You understand
                                        I had to cross from our home
                              where we could see the dying
anywhere we stood. Come, rain… 
                                        we said at every corner: come finish
    
          what’s been started. My love, I felt each slash
                              and lapse of summer’s sudden anger,
and made a choice to leave you with it
          for these weeks. I couldn’t manage
                                        where it burns the branch, 
    
          the strand, the habitat: land-blind     
to leaf and skin. I needed a throat of air: 
                              or no, I wanted it.