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Psalm Country

Jacob Camden

There’s country made of lichen, bark, and sap;

there’s country laid by brittle mats

of old pine needles,

keeping wet down underneath.

Even unto dusk: their earthy black.


Somewhere there are hills.

Hills with dozens’ dozens’ trees,

plus scores more, and many more, those branches.

Somewhere there’s the head of a stream—

over the hills somewhere—

or else how could nearby water  

seem so long in coming?


In psalm country, 

resurrection-fern country,

there’s an amphitheater church:

wooden pews, wooden cross, a stone-bench altar.

From there the hills and streams are visible,

as if, clearly, you were alone.


From there you can taste the human blood,

and love an older world,

which you used to dream you’d call your own.