Cameron Morse

The Other World Is Our World

Knowing where we are begins as an inkling 
of cars passing up ahead before I can make out 
the sign. Our street goes through, 
our payment. Our breakthrough begins 
before we can make sense of an illegible hand. 
From another angle, our world is other-
worldly. Our shadows cast bodies 
and not the other way around. 

A train stopped in the woods stretches on 
and on, heading off our crossing. 
Its headlights are light in daylight. We were always 
walking home, always to begin with, 
snow banks of broken glass, brittle reefs 
along the disappearing sidewalk. 

Symptom or Side Effect

Electrical waves crash over my head, 
the beachhead of my brain, prickly stubble
of sand, or I have the kind of sudden 
fatigue that makes a Mason jar from the dish rack 
heavier than a car battery. How to describe this 
to my oncologist? Symptom or side effect?
Twilight makes it orange on the horizon,
orange as an orangutan or the handgun 

the boy at the playground yesterday 
shot me in the eye with and my wife on the park 
bench, nursing beneath a muslin cloth 
and my son on the rock wall, my daughter in the child 
safety swing. Ha! I laughed: No one was left 
to push him. He called and called and no one came.  

The Next Flight 

I will not know my thought: 
I must wait for my thought, my flight. 
My sister struggling to keep up holds on 
to her hurt years among the pagodas, 
abandoned. I am running out of time 
to make amends for the people I have been 
and hurt, the unthought hours 
rolling over, going belly up in the shipyard. 

I will not know. How could I ever 
escape the manifest I myself am on? 
My adult sister settling in to the seat beside me, 
asks if I have any memories of her 
as a girl. I run for my thought. This time 
I am out of takes off without me. 

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 three children. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.
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