Being the Eldest

for Ortho O. Camp, 1918-2008


According to my father

being the eldest

got him all the dirty jobs

so when it came time

for the family dog, Beans, to die

he was the one

who doused the gunny-sack

with ether, stuffing it

against Beans’ arthritic body

dropping the zinc washtub

over the sleeping dog

and it was he who sat

on the thumping tub

every vibration

galvanizing to the bone

holding it in place

until the banging ceased

and there was only

silence inside.

Roger Camp lives in Seal Beach, CA where he muses over his orchids, walks the pier, plays blues piano and spends afternoons reading under an Angel's Trumpet with a charm of hummingbirds. When he's not at home, he's photographing in the Old World. His work has appeared in Pank, Rust+Moth, Gulf Coast, Southern Poetry Review and Nimrod.