Travel Plans

Cameron Morse


Sky dark before dawn, the orange horizon an ashen log
left night long in the charcoal belly
of the firepit, the one bird which overwinters with me here,
the one nameless bird that whistles in the cold
the only song it knows, those same two notes.

A white forest of frost grows on the front rail.
In the pines, a murder of crows explodes
into chorus, a black flurry
of robes. If Monday’s MRI comes back positive
for recurrence, how could I continue on
to Chicago? How catch my connecting flight?

In dreams, I leave my wallet in the glove
compartment, misplace my backpack on the shuttle
and scream all night long
for my passport, my boarding pass,
my year-old son. Little chapel drilled into pin oak bark,

whitewashed bird house, mini-sepulcher
complete with steeple and miniature cross, what darkness you harbor
in your aperture, what inscrutable darkness
in your monocular inkblot. Where is your occupant, your sole
congregant and pastor of none?
Solitude becomes you because you disagree with everyone.




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 three subsequent collections are Father Me Again (Spartan Press, 2018), Coming Home with Cancer (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), and Terminal Destination (Spartan Press, 2019). He lives with his pregnant wife Lili and son Theodore in Blue Springs, Missouri, where he manages Inklings' FOURTH FRIDAYS READING SERIES with Eve Brackenbury and serves as poetry editor for Harbor Review. For more information, check out his Facebook page or website.

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