Everything Worth Knowing I Learned at a Kitchen Table
My cousins know what they know like loose seeds, like the future
blooms from an archive. We smoke hookah in Patterson and flag
the waiter down with our dim coals, thin smoke, we are a pain
in the ass, walo, we know.
I’ve Been Smelling the Lavender Alone
But presently what interests me is my soul.
He’s been absent for weeks. He left one night
when the clouds flamed purple behind the lacy tree,
and usually he loves this type of thing.
My brother says his next tattoo will read Made in China,
even though he wasn’t. He tells people his birth name
is Ching Chong, which is a lie, and that he can’t speak
any language fluently except for English, which is true.
I. When you enter my mother’s house it smells like dirt and sweet cotton, peppermint maybe too. She hugs you and you feel like crying in new ways as the wave of her love crashes with the weight of time and space it took for you to arrive in her womb 30 years ago and […]
Server at a diner in Nowhere, Oklahoma
Lately I feel like a Hopper girl, face
turned away from the happening, adrift
between birth—that inaugural death—
and after. Mostly I worry my hair
is thinning. Glances in the murky glass
partitions confirm I might exist: real
From the Archive: Three Poems by Adam Clay
Even if our minds do trick us, even if we act as shadows
on a wall
blindly unaware of the sun setting behind us,
the earth cannot pause without us. The earth could not be anything
without the sum of its parts
We looked up, for once, all day long, in thrall
to the spectacle of lavish rags. Susan said
it made her back feel good, and Helen said
the whisper of their envelopes against the sand
Sometimes two people look like delicate objects,
sound like road-work and thunder.
We duty, gender and tribe in our house. Split blades of grass.
Elope from garden and seed, to stove and head of table.
We look like a honeymoon with no boundaries.
A riot of patterns, draft of wisdom and splintering,
entire palette of laughter and bickering.