When the People We Know Become the People We Don’t
I have spent long stretches of time considering life within an envelope, though I have not made it past the touch of your tongue or the orange stamp postmarked with the name of a country farther away than a telescope’s reach or a receiver’s click. At times, the stars feel near enough to singe
my idle thoughts. But when the mind flutters from itself, even the eyelash cannot hide what happens beneath the surface of ice, the unstrung wire drifting below the hole augured into it. And above the frozen surface, in the mustache and beard of the fisherman, the ice will not melt because the human body is no fire
all to itself. In stepping back from what you said, there was no underhanded intention or desire to complicate what should not be. After all, to render the mind helpless is to render the body into beauty. To embrace the ampersand would be to shorten what’s being said, dissolving what it means to be tender in a world where emotion is no longer needed. In what we call photogenic, we find no beauty. The sky is not made perfect by comparing it to a pomegranate.
-- Adam Clay is the author of The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006), A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012), and, a third book of poems, Stranger (Milkweed Editions, 2016). His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Boston Review, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. A co-editor of TYPO Magazine, he serves as a Book Review Editor for Kenyon Review, and teaches at the University of Illinois Springfield.