poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

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.

How the World Began

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 action of my mind.
To split wood, one must consider
The direction of the grain.
Sometimes the mornings
Remind me of how
Dickinson imagined Heaven,
But what of Heaven
Without the world, the dirt,
And the turn of the head
To a sound distant in the woods?
I doubt anything could diminish
The seasons when dwelling
Within the opposite. How we
Arrived here was never much
Of a story but we imagined
A path around the lake,
A narrative built from circumference,
And the trees we built
From molecules outgrew
The bounds we imagined for them.

Copyright © 2017 Adam Clay. “How the World Began” originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter/Spring 2017. Used with permission of the author.

 

Copyright © 2017 Adam Clay. “How the World Began” originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter/Spring 2017. 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

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

poem
Twenty-three percent when placed under
intense pressure did in fact kick
the door in. Soldiers creep on the other side
of the turn. Every little thing
is destined for ease. Music, be still.
Keep the mannequin secrets
to yourself. Remember a ladder
can take you both up and down.
The weather grows less stable
than
poem

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