Adam Clay Elegy for a Different Kind of Falling

Elegy for a Different Kind of Falling

What is necessary about a morning that drifts through the mind

Before words have arrived? To imagine wakefulness takes little

Work, time or money, but the imagination dwells there, an expert

On the mysterious beginning of desire in a land free of currency

And bartering. Close your eyes, and what should appear will appear.

To presume what happens outside of the realm of the mind might

Very well be a mind all to itself: opening and closing, the trees filter

In and through consciousness, free of the thoughts that knot the brain

Into something almost unrecognizable. In a country whose green

Had not yet been burned by war, a group of men parachuted down,

Their bags filled with what would identify them when their voices

Would not. It would be shallow to say we are all each of us falling

Into that same ditch or into any ditch, our identity stitched into

The fabric of how we speak and what we say. A man from the other

Side hiked up the hill, not expecting to find the dead men there,

Their uniforms pristine and their bodies too, the violence not even

Written on their faces. What to make of their hair parted so perfectly,

Their boots laced tightly, and the lavender soap in one of the bags,

The smell of it so foreign, like a woman in a world without them?

If the details are where the human mind resides, then between

The details there must be some deeper understanding of what drives

Desire out from the subconscious and into the urge to throw ourselves

Out and into the dark waves of rain. The soldier who found the bodies

In the ravine had been lost in the cold mud of a strange country

For days, his hands covered with dirt he did not recognize, a sense

Of loss he was only beginning to understand. It would seem foolish

To say he saw himself in the dead faces of the perfectly groomed,

Their only purpose was to take his life, and another and another.

We might think of luck in a moment like that, but luck is only a reckless

Form of chaos, a way of being at the right place when time is through

With us and when we fall, it’s a fall unlike any we’ve felt before,

A parachute on our back unused, a notion of self tightening

Up suddenly like a fist of tree in a storm of words.


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