September as Afterthought
Harvey Mountain, Columbia County, New York

On Harvey Mountain, far north of here,
snow is seeping into rock crevices
bordering the path, and lichen
is lining the feet of a denuded pine,
its root system upturned,
open to the air, an unbuilt
house’s foundation.

The snow foams into pools,
popping open and re-forming
as embers of sharpening sound.

What we left on the mountain
comes to me in secret,
in the chambers of a squirrel’s nest
concealed by leaves,
in liminal time between
summer and autumn, before
the cold packs itself in.

We listened to the mountain
with our teeth, with the cilia
in our noses, through the exposed
spaces between glove
and thick coat sleeve.
The mountain warbled back to us.

This fall is quiet, abstracted.
In the silence, Harvey Mountain forms
like an indigo wave in the darkness,
guards us at night.

Distancing
December 2020

Woman with waterbird voice —
a promontory
from this outcropping of brick
and vinyl, the boxwood necklace
backlit down the cul-de-sac —
hands in her young son’s armpits,
props him against the deck fence
to wave at a slow car
while the houses stand
in rigor mortis

Vision West

In California,
at the sloping museum
infused with daylight,
this oblong canvas
is significant blue,
trail-marker blue
ripening in the forest.
Blue that spills and spreads
behind the back of the eye.

Fire Weather

The tree spokes circulate,
roil against vapor
that gaps and folds,
gaps and folds.

A fantastic spill.
A burning
in the webbing
of our fingers.
Speak to us in a whorl,
storm, magenta figment,
dried tangle of hair.

Churn your language
of ash
into our own.

Itinerary: Color

Color of plastic bird feeder
Color of sun filament
Color of glass within asphalt
Color of eye that is bloodshot
Color of fence’s metal shadow
Color of reheated coffee
Color of wood paneling
Color of buried slab of marble
Color of darkening day
Color of mapped road
Color of sleep
Color of time before forgetting

Rachel Cloud Adams is the editor for an advocacy association and the founder/editor of the journal and small press Lines + Stars. Her poems have appeared in The North American Review, Big Muddy, Salamander, Dialogist, The Conium Review, CAROUSEL, Memoir, and elsewhere. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of three chapbooks: What is Heard (Red Bird Press, 2013), Sleeper (Flutter Press, 2015), and Space and Road (Semiperfect Press, 2019). She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and received her MA in writing from the Johns Hopkins University.

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