for Max Ritvo
Before sleep, I hear the wind chimes
from our neighbor’s front porch
and back yard and from
the other side of their house. The chimes
make some kind of sense of the wind,
though I don’t know what sense it might be
or why they bother. For beauty only?
Or a sieve for the chaos to slip through?
The week-before-last Ada asked Michael and I
if we believed in God, a higher power,
a whatever. A few months back Richie
mentioned that search engine histories
have become the closest thing
to prayer we have. I don’t know why origins
mean so much to us,
and why our unknowing must sting like a scar.
The way we reckon depends on the day’s shade.
Think of the Sweetspire and how you might
miss the native if you aren’t looking for it, as if
each day finds its ending in a homily of undoing.
Adam Clay’s most recent book is Stranger (Milkweed Editions, 2016). He edits Mississippi Review and teaches at the University of Southern Mississippi. The title of his poem comes from Keats’ 1819 fragment.