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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

Because today we did not leave this world,
We now embody a prominence within it,
Even amidst its indifference to our actions,
Whether they be noiseless or not.
After all, nonsense is its own type of silence,
Lasting as long as the snow on your
Tongue. You wonder why each evening

2
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

In the painting
of a painting,
there’s little
to be said
of sadness,
as if opening up
within itself
is a way of
misremembering
personal history.
I remember
the museum
where the painting
was shown,
its walls so full
their colors
were