The Terror of Flight

Good morning mess of stars
just out of sight

and other things we choose
to make invisible with
the promise of their own design.

Reflections may chisel its strange song,

but think of skin
worn down under

the mass of
its panic (or purpose)

but not the trajectory
of missile fire scarring the sky.

Why must “missile” contain
the word “miss,” as if built into its

horror is the assurance
it will land

where it shouldn’t? Think
of a pointed word or a smoothed stone

purposed for disaster. History
waits for everyone or for

no one, and a shawl covers
only what’s a thumb smaller

than itself. Drifting

from the skyscraper of the mind,
its pattern billows and opens,

falling along and further down

like a flag bereft of its pole
so gently, it flails.

Copyright © 2016 Adam Clay. “The Terror of Flight” originally appeared in The Shallow Ends. Used with permission of the author.