Cameron Morse

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POETRY

Evade

My two-year-old unearths in the garage
the dual suspension aluminum
scooters Dad picked up for us as kids
at a recovery sales outlet.
No trace of the brand name
Evade on the internet, I call the toll-free
number stickered to the handlebars
for a free manual. An auto insurance
representative answers. Where the sticker
prohibits scootering at night, I recall
the church night Noah Cash and Adam
Wilson disappeared on our scooters,
rattling along the woodsy two-lane
to a now derelict Casey’s where the two boys
could perform the stunts
the sticker forbids. The former
of these childhood ghosts recently committed
Facebook suicide and closed the only
window I had into his life as an Alaskan
fisherman with an apartment in New Orleans.
When my little rubber wheel snags,
my boyhood tumbles in pain-filled
hysterical laughter. My younger brother wants
to know what games Dad was good at,
what restaurants he frequented. I email the old guy
on his 65th birthday about the coronavirus,
factories closing in Yantai, where he lives
with his new family called Spirits, called
Loneliness, in the asylum of his own certainties.


Born in Sin

Day three snowbound stir-crazy with my two-year-old
leaves me speechlessly maimed, begging
the dripping eaves for a way
out of this war of shouting no, no, no,
shouting stop, before he overturns the chair,
the table, the floor lamp.
I would pray to God but settle for the old dog
before me, Augustine, squinting
in sunlight.

I wasn’t always naughty.
Yesterday while a second snow shook down
the clouded glass door during afternoon
naps, I watched my seven-year-old self in a collared shirt
on video at the little league pizza party, sitting
downwind from four empty chairs, caressing my participant trophy.

A pelt of snow draped over the gable
ticks off the resounding sheets of slush below. I address the old dog.
I ask my own shadow cast like a placemat
over the charcoal gills of the condenser. From the caresses
of my nursery and jests of my friends
I proceed
to this, Augustine, so small a boy and so great a sinner.
Why?
When it’s as if every molecule in my body were vibrating
with a desire to be like those boys. I glance
at the recorder, then return my dark eyes to the jouncing jerseys
of my teammates. To love, and be loved.


Cameron Morse was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2014. With a 14.6 month life expectancy, he entered the Creative Writing Program at the University of Missouri—Kansas City and, in 2018, graduated with an M.F.A. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters, Bridge Eight, Portland Review and South Dakota Review. His first poetry collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is Baldy (Spartan Press, 2020). He lives with his wife Lili and two children in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.  


Photo Credit: “Scooters” by Fouquier ॐ.

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