Adam Clay


Just think of the things you can buy:

like the sheen of a letter

or a fish swimming transparently
in the current we have yet to define.

Why must we be attracted
to clumsiness? Grace is forgivable,
but a stumbling is acceptable

in the right light of prayer. An eye
not meant to be caught should

not be an eye. I consider capacity
through what we are in a world

not meant to be held, a world
screaming to be dropped.

The drains seem countlessly clogged—
how many days of cold since a murder?

This air works like a lung. I am happy for mud—          
I am happy you invited me here.




Is not a way or an origin
or even a message of longing. 

You bought all of the trees,
but like a fool you failed

to purchase the roots.

You think of violence and enter
a world void

of physicality, though when
you think of amen and the idea of amen

you imagine rage in its dullest
and most compressed form.

When you find yourself in
a moment of desperation,

you set flame to the nearest museum,
erasing all markers of your existence.

There's a starting over.

But one day there will be no starting over,
no musicians, no explanations,

and no animals left to track through the woods
to the tiny patch of land
where they sleep cautiously during the day.

And as for the insects, they will make even
less sense: the tiny survivable creatures

always seem the strangest: a brief life
filled with more purpose than ours:

a spider hatching as existence's most fragile link
in the world's most bizarre and chaotic chain.





Note on these two poems: I've always been troubled by the blatant disregard for the environment, but since becoming a father over four years ago, I've become even more obsessed with the idea that the future (at least for human beings) might very well be short. Both of these poems are an attempt at reckoning with the uncertainty of what's coming down the line.