How the World Began

The years of the locust tree
Split open with ease,
But I had no ax—
It was lost to the snow.
Let’s make up a story
Of how we arrived here.
Because of its ability to create,
The mind must do the opposite.
I always liked missing you,
Stirring the coals with only
The action of my mind.
To split wood, one must consider
The direction of the grain.
Sometimes the mornings
Remind me of how
Dickinson imagined Heaven,
But what of Heaven
Without the world, the dirt,
And the turn of the head
To a sound distant in the woods?
I doubt anything could diminish
The seasons when dwelling
Within the opposite. How we
Arrived here was never much
Of a story but we imagined
A path around the lake,
A narrative built from circumference,
And the trees we built
From molecules outgrew
The bounds we imagined for them.

Copyright © 2017 Adam Clay. “How the World Began” originally appeared in Poetry Northwest, Winter/Spring 2017. Used with permission of the author.