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About this poet

Adam Clay is the author of Stranger (Milkweed Editions, 2016), A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012), and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006). He is the editor in chief of Mississippi Review, coeditor of Typo Magazine, and a book review editor for Kenyon Review. He teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Directive for Ascension

Let the words we frame and chisel contain
the same language of those before and those
to come. If this moment is a place, let rain drift
to an elsewhere. Let our arrivals rise up
like the Estivant Pines. Let atoms
be atoms. Let song be song. If a moment
gone-by does not return, let the breath of a streamline
contain what you need. If sleep serves
a purpose. If memory divides the night,
let grace braid the strands. Let the lake be an eye
we stand upon and let mind be a way
to the body. If you fear death,
live within a pause. Let the mind envision
its exhaustion. Let procession slow down.
Let the mind become pollen. If sleep serves
a purpose, let acceptance be an orchid,
living only because of the climate around it.
If the world within this world holds us to truth,
let truth be a construct we use to know the past.
If water rises and falls, let it be because
of the moon and its pull. If the frame
becomes more useful than what it contains,
let eyelid divide light, let glass be more than glass.

Copyright © 2016 Adam Clay. “Directive for Ascension” originally appeared in Harpur Palate. Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2016 Adam Clay. “Directive for Ascension” originally appeared in Harpur Palate. Used with permission of the author.

 

Adam Clay

Adam Clay

Adam Clay is the author of Stranger (Milkweed Editions, 2016), A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012), and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006).

by this poet

poem

The years of the locust tree
Split open with ease,
But I had no ax—
It was lost to the snow.
Let’s make up a story
Of how we arrived here.
Because of its ability to create,
The mind must do the opposite.
I always liked missing you,
Stirring the coals with only
The

poem

I wake myself imagining the shape
of the day and where I will find

myself within it. Language is not often
in that shape,

but sentences survive somehow
through the islands of dark matter,

the negative space often more important
than the positive.

Imagine finding you look

2
poem

I take a break from one thought or another
to pay a credit card bill,
to take the dog out, to water the two

plants in the hanging basket
because Kim asked me to,
but why not instead take a walk

through the early August morning
before the heat wave hits
while the body still