Adam Clay – Study in Cartography

Adam Clay

Study in Cartography
                                                        for Rebekah Lewis

Water meter covers made in Lincoln, Nebraska, sewage-pipe covers
from Decatur, Illinois,
                      the sweat of dogs mixing on this map

of a city where silvery things glinting
on the ground are not broken glass, but confused teeth
and gravel.  Geography seen from sidewalks—lawnmowers
half-way under houses—handles showing—the map’s
northern border.  Before today,
                              moons cut in half were
just mile-markers for knowing what day of the month
it was.  Now—they’re part of the diagram to the street where a porch
bends under the weight of the words caught
inside a girl for a year.

Rain gutters are singing—
                           no—it’s birds stuck inside them;
and when a map is finished, the cartographers stir, make coffee,
pack their duffel bags, and sign their names
in each other’s blood on the closest dusty hardwood floor.

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