PoetryIssue 15 | June 2012

Long Distance with Camel

by Carol Light

After the sweet trifles of epistolary salaamat,
the verbal décolletage, the petal blizzard,
and smoke signals of smoldering frankincense
comes the long afternoon wobble
of one awaiting a reply. Sound travels farthest
along low frequencies, so say the elephants,
while, half a world away, the beloved yawns. 
His shade is drawn.

Poor spent corsage of courage
and the crushed tissue of I miss you,
and the send-and-receive-all chronicle
of thought. No spark. No sputter.
No zephyr. No pulse. Dust settles implacably
atop the buttoned lip of the lap-top.

Collapse of Camelot? After moonrise, wife wonders,
tapping her thermometer.  Ear to the ground
for the next low murmur, she hears what?
Dahlias hissing at the stars? A fingertip tracing
the wine glass rim of a clavicle? The amplified throb
of Bedouins bedding? Hey, who’s breathless by lamplight?

Whirling dervish whips up a sirocco
as sandstorms sting kohl-painted eyes –
anguish is aerobic, see? Like exercise.
En garde!  She parries the hours,
twirling the tangled filigree of promises
around her finger. Tired of the swashbuckle,
and furtive in an abaya’s black abyss,
she fetches her fletches, smoothes her skirt,
sips a bromide, nibbles on a scone.

Meanwhile, morning lights the desert.
Sultan straightens his kaffiyeh,
mounts his camel once again,
waving cheerily toward home.

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About the author

Carol Light has sliced and transected the U.S. in station wagons, from Texas to North Dakota, from Tampa to Seattle, and from Port Townsend to Vermont. Whenever she can, she spends summers writing in Italy, and aspires to further adventures in Ireland and India. You can find her work in Narrative, Poetry Northwest, and Prairie Schooner.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok