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.
After your birthday dinner, you said life
didn’t turn out the way you wanted.
Then, who wanted the way it turned out?
If no one, why did it turn out that way?
I wanted a son, summers in a fishermen’s
village, and an endless book where seagulls
would dispute the catch of memories…
Frost at Christ Church Meadow
The cow pasture flooded and froze.
Over its milk glass rink, two crows
drift to a pine,
catch like origami paper. Leafless
oak veins steam: auras lift
Oarsman, Rio de la Plata
There’s nothing new under the Golden Star. If you did not exist
in my space/time coordinates, I would have invented you, spirited
from that Sunday afternoon in the Zócalo when you sang
your poems and I caught you afterwards at the lip of the stage
My son’s hands hid his face,
and his narrow shoulders shook
with sobbing. He had no metaphysics
yet, so the pastor’s voice bleated
senselessly over the grave
of his grandmother
To Arrive Here
All spring, I fed myself double doses
of the prescription, half-doses of
antihistamines. Cut my fingernails into
short squares like I saw on the hands
of my sister’s newborn child.