The Camel

by Linda Hogan

Last night the camel
down on its knobby long legs nearby
so surprisingly gentle laid itself on earth,
the dust rising up, the sand in its hair,
all its awkward grace,
not the most loved creature of them all,
but there it was, desert sitting ungroomed,
smelling of some plants I can’t name,
and then it laid its head so gently on my leg,
so warm it was,
such a sudden act of kindness.

LINDA HOGAN is former Writer in Residence for The Chickasaw Nation and Professor Emerita from University of Colorado. Her latest poetry collection is Dark. Sweet.: New & Selected Poems (Coffee House Press, 2014). Her numerous books include the novel Mean Spirit, a winner of the Oklahoma Book Award and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is the recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.