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The way his hyphen flattened the beveled air,
how it slipped between them
and spread off his tongue
with one of 26 dialects she didn’t yet know.

It was this she wanted and this she’d recall:
the edge coming toward her,
and the breath
as he paused in that dash,
in the long architecture of line,
the increasingly tightened space.

She waited for a story to be written,
and to travel through it, through
both syllables poised in the resisting space.

And she knew she would look back
at that sliver of air,
that original moment of suspension
which hung lightly between the words,
the moment before persuasion was final.

The subtext of each scarcely moving sound
brimmed over the edge,
and the span of words passed into them
with such economy, such need.


Lauren Camp’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, caesura, Solo Novo and other journals. She has also guest edited special sections for World Literature Today and Malpaís Review. The author of the poetry collection, This Business of Wisdom (West End Press), Lauren hosts “Audio Saucepan,” on Santa Fe Public Radio, and blogs about poetry at Which Silk Shirt.

© 2012, Lauren Camp

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