Adam Clay

                          When Birds Rule the World | Mike Stilkey

                          When Birds Rule the World | Mike Stilkey

Chaos You Can Fold


Yes, all disasters are local,
but locality

manages to be so darkly

subjective: a glass
of fog covered in moss.

What believing alone
means with someone else:

lake-view or city-view room?

Both provide a vision beyond
the pane of glass but choose carefully

for one folds the brain
into an origami brain, a swan

stripped of its feathered wings.


Rest in Peace Without the Peace


When the idea arrives,
we usually find our minds

elsewhere. The poem develops its own way

of forgiving the drafts
that tunnel through

the mind with such force that we forget

there was something to
neglect and apologize for.

I like housework most days and dream

with so much fervor
that I need a bite guard

to keep my thoughts from damaging

my body. I don’t really
know if a metaphor

should decide the path of a river, but I do

know the shape of the body
means more than the body:

look how tall Lincoln was. Look how being

held together means
deciding to be torn apart.



Adam Clay is the author of A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World (Milkweed Editions, 2012) and The Wash (Parlor Press, 2006). His third book of poems, Stranger, is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in 2016. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Crab Orchard Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, The Kenyon Review Online, Black Warrior Review, Iowa Review, The Pinch, and elsewhere.

Along with being co-editor of TYPO Magazine, he is a Book Review Editor for The Kenyon Review and teaches at the University of Illinois Springfield.