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Post Road Magazine #32

Camel In The Room

Tara Skurtu

On the train to Brașov I'm reading
student poems. Over and over I write:
be a video camera. I think movie
scenes. The man who invented
a thing everyone wants throws
himself through a boardroom
window. An old man hammers
his old friend's head into
his breakfast plate. A forest:
two lovers, forbidden to love,
unable not to, develop a code,
and behind them a camel—
once a person unable to fall
in love and condemned to choose
a mateless animal whose body
he'd inhabit, roam eternity next
to this couple gesturing desires
behind their backs—enters.
Over shitty beer and wine
you tell me you rode a camel
in Morocco last week, wanted
to make it to Casablanca.
You point to your chest and say
feel, tap your head and say can't.
Intimacy is the camel in this room,
and you walk in and out of it,
espresso and cigarette in one hand.
Take this water bottle, you say.
Say you need to fill it with water
from home
. You're pointing
to your chest and shaking
a nearly empty bottle in my face.
The young couple against the window
hasn't stopped kissing for over an hour.
Say you need this specific water
to survive
. I watch the camel become
you become the elephant become
the room. Sometimes it's the room
and not the elephant, so today
I'll substitute one room for another.
I'll go from this compartment
to the classroom to the bistro
to the bath. I'm going to fill
my deep tub with a whole box
of salts, close my eyes,
pretend I'm in an ocean
of my own making.

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