Selected Poems | Cameron Morse

Silent Partner

Sometimes I don’t know what
to do with my silent
partner. The only way I can
get his attention is by ripping out
the translucent, turquoise
piece of rubber that squeaks in his mouth
in lieu of conversation
or tantrum screams—as the case
may be—and flinging it
at the sun. When I get home
late, I go straight to bed,
then lie awake for hours replaying
footage of every stitch of mingling
banter and repartee: I remember
blanking in the middle
of a compliment. I said I liked
two poems. What was the second,
oh yes, the one about the ants.
My little brother contradicts me:
I reach for the booster seat,
he says Theo’s old enough to go
without. I say it’s cold in here.
He says no, it isn’t. I have to carry
the weight of my sadness
to the living room sofa and lie down.
Sometimes I can’t remember
if I’m wearing my glasses.
I have to feel my face like an idiot
in front of nobody.

Kiddie Pool Baptismal

I dunk my feet, floating
Crocs. I nurse

the spilt in my head
with trips to the spigot.

Heal me, sweet
mother, if you think

I’m worth it. Bless
the inventor of

water and one more
way to withstand

the summer.
Jungle cat rugs

of heat piled plush
on my chest,

I peel off my T-shirt
and squeeze rainbows

out of a spray-bottle.        
Theo empties cups

over my kneecaps, raising
the dark waterline

of soaked denim.
The more I resist the pastoral,

the greater my urge is
to pastor.

Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri. The first of his four collections, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award.

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