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Adam Clay

Miles from You

You said dusk was a type of field—a place
where you grew up razed for the sake

of the place you grew up.

A broken photobooth, shotglasses, footprints
from a dog on the underside
of an umbrella. Most kitchens

are worth destroying. I removed every single
horse from every elegy ever written

and on the page they grew
more honest, more sincere. But should we omit
for the sake of becoming more earnest?

Common sense shadows of itself;
the moon pulls us closer to random passer-bys.

Soon enough, a stranger becomes a fingerprint,
a fingerprint becomes its own pre-history.

What People Do

Each road in Texas
all stormed up. Even the cows don’t look real,

but road props make this world

feel just a touch bluer. Eager for the birds
to disappear

from every poem in the world, but I realize
that even in negation there is an existence

worth forgetting. It’s been a week
in another world, with enough subtext

to crowd out the initial meaning of our words.

Thankfulness like a boarded-up gas station,
the hotel flooded with volumes of space,

our notion of space both
unbelievable and instantly recognizable.

Where You Might Have Stayed Forever

The ferns, alive
and as lucky

or luckier than us
remain here

long enough
for the time being.

We stop and in our
stopping, we imagine

forgiveness as a world
we might one day

inhabit. There’s a lake
there that bends back

around your eye
and rewrites each

careless memory
into a narrative

void of sentences
and void of strangeness:

an image at times can be
nothing more than itself.

Adam Clay
is the author of A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006). A third book of poems, Stranger, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Denver Quarterly, Iowa Review, New Orleans Review, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits TYPO Magazine and lives in Kentucky.