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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.

The Terror of Flight

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
of missile fire scarring the sky.

Why must “missile” contain
the word “miss,” as if built into its

horror is the assurance
it will land

where it shouldn’t? Think
of a pointed word or a smoothed stone

purposed for disaster. History
waits for everyone or for

no one, and a shawl covers
only what’s a thumb smaller

than itself. Drifting

from the skyscraper of the mind,
its pattern billows and opens,

falling along and further down

like a flag bereft of its pole
so gently, it flails.

Copyright © 2016 Adam Clay. “The Terror of Flight” originally appeared in The Shallow Ends. Used with permission of the author. 

 

Copyright © 2016 Adam Clay. “The Terror of Flight” originally appeared in The Shallow Ends. 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

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

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