Adam Clay

Final Species of Anything

A lawnmower
for the last dream
of the night or the lift
of the tongue
into the day like how
when tired, I begin talking
out loud too, though
in place of okay, you’d find
full-length sentences
strung from my tongue,
adorning wisteria,
and honestly I feel
invasive turning
noun to verb, verbs to
violent turns through
one-way brick streets,
their buildings teetering
on the edge of an eclipse
I stayed inside from,
cosmic things always
a mystery I fear
unnaturally. Honestly I feel
most moments heavier
than I should, set sail
for the Arctic with no
real purpose, find
caves more comforting
than not, and see
a rip in the day not
as a problem, but
more like an opening
to step myself into.



Lounge of Rain and Sky

Sad for the unlimited options
of jukeboxes in humankind’s
late stretch. Admittedly, I’ve

played Sad-Eyed Lady
of the Lowlands five or six too
many times, but I’m also

grateful Red River Shore isn’t
always easily at a fingertip’s
touch. Time intersects

in ways only religion can suffer
gladly. Did I tell you I once
saw a jukebox floating down

the Mississippi River like a cloud
of good fortune swept under
the rug of bad luck? I can still

listen to one song over and over, find
something new in what I’ve heard
far too many times. Did I tell you I stood

beneath the skylight in your kitchen while
you slept, looked up to the stars
somewhere beyond the quilt of sky?



You Have a New Memory

A sign for a lost ring,
cheap but sentimental,
and a random high-heel
left in the middle
of the running path. Later,
a discarded play-pen
upside down in the woods,
some blue bird with a green
beak unidentified
as of yet. Water flowing
downstream and later
upstream, we passed
through a tree felled
by wind to make a path
for us. Do you hear
the question posed
at the end of every
statement kept inside
the cathedral of some deep
inner thirst? I found the fox poem
you mentioned. Everything
feels like mystery. I wonder
if you are sleeping, though I
think not yet. Even the newest
tree feels older than my first word.



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). A fourth book, To Make Room for the Sea, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, Georgia Review, Boston Review, jubilat, Iowa Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He is editor-in-chief of Mississippi Review, a co-editor of Typo Magazine, and a Book Review Editor for Kenyon Review. He teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Southern Mississippi.