Leaving the theater in afternoon sun,
we realize there is still so much
time left in the day. I wish
my life were like that: a dark room
breathing, one wall enveloped
in flame and when the envelope tears
open, I realize there is still so much more: Pages
unwritten, a cigarette waiting for its light.
After the letters rain and footlights rise,
it would be easy to get up, stretch my legs
and cross the bright parking lot
among the other travelers, climb into my car
and drive away, forgetting the terror
that flickered and raced across my waking eyes.
We keep white washcloths
in a kitchen drawer. After a meal
I drop a beam of warm
water from the silver faucet
into a washcloth and reach through it
the smeared faces of my children.
I want the water to be warm
that scrapes off the berry stain,
the grime of butter. These used cloths
accumulate on the countertop
and grow cold. They draw flies.
A couple times a day, I step out
through the sliding door and drape
white cloths over the cracked deck rail.
The flies are there, too, of course.
They’re excited to greet me
because I come bearing the gifts
that my children wear on their faces.
Cameron Morse is Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and the author of eight collections of poetry. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is The Thing Is (Briar Creek Press, 2021). He holds an MFA from the University of Kansas City—Missouri and lives in Independence, Missouri, with his wife Lili and (soon, three) children. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.