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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

Like animals moving daily
through the same open field,
it should be easier to distinguish
light from dark, fabrications

from memory, rain on a sliver
of grass from dew appearing
overnight. In these moments
of desperation, a sentence

serves as a halo, the moon

poem

Good morning mess of stars
just out of sight

and other things we choose
to make invisible with
the promise of their own design.

Reflections may chisel its strange song,

but think of skin
worn down under

the mass of
its panic (or purpose)

but not the trajectory