POETRY: Five By Carl Adamshick

POETRY: Five By Carl Adamshick

Black Snow

My brother sent a letter

from the house
where our mother is dying

He describes the planet earth
with its trees and low buildings
wheeling past the sun

I picture him
in the plastic lawn chair
at the head of the driveway

a thistle growing
in the crack beside his beer bottle

leaving a wet ring
on the blonde cement

The tenuous frail night
landing like a paper airplane
in a field of high corn

Then fireflies
Then mosquitoes
pulling iron from his veins

… %% … ¿?¿?¿ … %% …

Moon Seen Through Windshield

If you are anything like I am
and I have faith that you are
then you have already stepped
out of your body
and been irrevocably wounded

I was born in 1969
Chances are you were born
during a different year
It doesn’t matter if you were born
three thousand years ago

or if you are born
three thousand years from now
we share what it means to live

Maybe you have gone
back into your body

and found words
the only guide
into the known dark

We are both the living and the dead
the stuff beyond theory

Sometimes it is too much
and other times not enough

We wake to a morning fog
We wake to morning sun

We sit in a cold evening
thinking of the death of a parent
During a different cold evening
we think of our eyes
and how they crawled
out of our minds

at some point
in the evolution of the self

It is the evening of the first day
of a new year
I ask myself what have you done
The list is remarkable

– ? — ? — ¶¶¶ — ? — ? –

Black Snow

From my mother’s funeral
I brought back Illinois

I brought back a ring and a necklace
I brought black snow

I brought a sense of cruelty
and rage that felt fair
to inflict on each moment

I brought back a new calendar
where the days
were ten times longer

and had to be opened
using tweezers on a dial
with a six digit combination

– + — + # £ # £ ∞§∞ £ # £ # + — + –

Moonlit Glass

I miss everyone. I miss my friend
Matthew and his appetite for acceptance,
his kindness, exuberance, his way
of making me happy in a world
that snows. I miss my mother,
who’s first birthday after her death
is today. I miss the red maple
in her front yard giving
its leaves to October. I miss
my brother who says the kitchen,
not the bedroom, is the great room
of intimacy. I miss the sky
because I once read Hikmet
list the cosmos as something
he didn’t know he loved.
I’ve spent the day discovering
things I want and things I don’t
want wear the same clothes.
I miss my ex, would still spend
an afternoon with her talking,
would still sleep with her
if she wanted to lose
her grasp of language in a mess
of blue sheets. I spent my youth
in church not believing
but feeling unified after service,
liking the white cars in the lot
and the dogs behind the chain link.
Tonight, on the shelf, a glass moose
figurine holds in its left antler
a tiny reflection of the moon
that is somehow shooting through
and illuminating its whole body.
It reminds me of how I used
to think of blood as its own being,
as a creature searching for a way out.
I take the moose from the shelf.
It goes dark in my hand.
It has no eyes, has no ears or mind.
It has no mouth, but then
it’s mother never had children.

˚˚˚ ı ˚˚˚ ◊ ˚˚˚ √ √ √ ˚˚˚ ◊ ˚˚˚ ı ˚˚˚

Estrangement

I live in your umbrella
standing on a sea of dirt.
The white light of noon
blasting like a bullhorn.

I’ve done so much without you
I want to share.

··· º º ··· œ — œ — œ ··· º º ···

Carl Adamshick’s first book, Curses and Wishes, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Saint Friend, his second collection of poems, is published by McSweeney’s. He lives in Portland, Oregon, where he is the editor of Tavern Books, a nonprofit press dedicated to the preservation of poetry and to book culture.

photo by toshi.panda via Flickr

About the Author

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