Adam Clay Poems



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.




Love Poem


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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