No Sounds, All Lies
The woman I dreamt of. It wasn’t worth reading
her lips—they never stopped moving. Soon time
drained into itself and the Indian said, “my mouth
hurts—where I say woman I mean ghost.” He punched
the cardboard trees until they screamed. The spirits
ran out of me and I stopped dreaming,
saw the sky colored like egg juice. People
all over town started sticking knives into trees
and licking the sap. The sap went down to their bellies
and turned to blood worms—the women all said, “ghost
this”, “ghost that.” We burned phonebooks
in big piles. At the fire, the Indian said revising
our words was next on our agenda. His view
was that only two ideas need to be tattooed
on our thumbs: pigs bleed blood
cut upside down and only sock-footed
feet allowed by the river.
When we were done, the waitress brought
us more coffee
and nodded towards the dart-board.
My picture was painted on it
so we stripped to nothing and threw things.
I tossed a mug, my wisdom teeth,
broke seven eggs, the Indian’s chest
screamed for air. Later, the women
rushed into the diner, picked up the fragments,
assigned them numbers,
hid them in drawers, called them shrapnel.
A baseball crashed through my kitchen window
and landed in the coffee cup you found in the dirt
and mailed to me. Everything arcs. I looked east
and read the words you wrote in cursive
above the red seam. Yes: what happens behind glass,
stays behinds glass. When the sun is just overhead,
the roads between here and there turn to soil,
grab hold of the land, and begin to bend.
Adam Clay has published and forthcoming poems in Black Warrior Review, Milk, Octopus, can we have our ball back?, and storySouth. He is the co-director of the Arkansas Writers in the Schools Program and is an editor at Typo Magazine.
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