Meditations in an Emergency: Poem From Dispatch by Cameron Awkward-Rich

I wake up & it breaks my heart. I draw the blinds & the thrill of rain breaks my heart. I go outside. I ride the train, walk among the buildings, men in Monday suits. The flight of doves, the city of tents beneath the underpass, the huddled mass, old women hawking roses, & children all of them, break my heart. There’s a dream I have in which I love the world. I run from end to end like fingers through her hair. There are no borders, only wind. Like you, I was born. Like you, I was raised in the institution of dreaming. Hand on my heart. Hand on my stupid heart.

“Meditations in an Emergency” from Dispatch by Cameron Awkward-Rich. Copyright © 2019 by Cameron Awkward-Rich. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books, Inc. (New York)

Cameron Awkward-Rich, both a poet and a critic, is the author of Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016) and Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019), winner of the 2018 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award.

His poetry has appeared in Narrative, The Baffler, Indiana Review, Verse Daily, The Offing, and elsewhere, and he has received fellowships from Cave Canem and The Watering Hole. Cam holds a PhD in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University and is Assistant Professor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Please visit Cameron’s website.

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