Adam Day

Adam Day is the author of Left-Handed Wolf (LSU Press, 2020), and of Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books), and the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and of a PEN Award.

They are the editor of the forthcoming anthology, Divine Orphans of the Poetic Project, from 1913 Press, and their work has appeared in the Fence, Boston Review, APR, Volt, Lana Turner, Iowa Review, and elsewhere.

An Excerpt from – Midnight’s Talking Lion and the Wedding Fire

When outside of prison doesn’t look much worse than life in, 
routine security community, just another neighborhood.
Wish resentment gets their children present. Kids
local schools be mediocre, unengaged and bored. And they are 
all that frustration and free time somewhere: whether starting 
a California, turn pro with a skateboard, gangbanging, 
becoming new Nico Muhly.

Interestingly, this concern for iterative selves across 
a spectrum, bring meaningful conversation with breaches more 
subtle. And the struggle for expression, represented by these 
breaches, that urgently untangling toward meaning, or simple 
retrospective understanding. Resistance and play which 
reproduces a foundational struggle with the protean nature of 
language, memory and the self. 

Only one thing: it’s the bomb that wins” recasts War Mastung, 
Banu, Nice, Baga, Baghdad, Deir ez-Zor into conflict between 
explosives and everything else: whatever does not explode 
on impact cities, islands, archipelagoes implausible imminent 
pervaded. Trauma, a thrilling nonevent questions, without 
offering answers tracing unstable limits like the ruin, 
its untimeliness and its out-of-placeness of definition 
and delimitation.


Many war diaries across time develop impressions of siege 
experienced by youngest victims hours watching miners 
wielding massive picks dig into hard stone inch by inch 
occasionally dynamite the rock” carved bomb shelters, 
indigenous limestone people slept, ate, argued, had sex and 
birth. Barrel bombs in the dockyard,” voices “drowned in the 

or the chattering of the ground artillery.” The siege began 
on June 11, lasted until two years January 20; all told, 
there were _ , _ _ _ casualties and _ _ , _ _ _ homes destroyed 
by both nation’s group’s bombers most days, effectively 
creating subterranean society “sheltered in whatever cliffs 
rarely ever coming to daylight pounded by average bombers 

a day . . . lull in the bombardment children emerge to gather 
around “a broken structure” descend from “the top of a slope 
of debris” like a spies,” transfixed by a cleric “[w]edged under 
a fallen beam,” the children: “Speak to us,” they goad, “What 
is your sermon today?” 


What sleeps`1`1 an underground shelter, young, daughter, 
among peers, a generation learned to cope with turmoil 
of relentless bombardment “swinging down from the trees,
jumping off the ruined ends of jetties into the sea” they swarm 
“among the ruins,” words find themselves “drawn 
by the detritus” in “site[s] where things are being visibly 
worked on” their dirt, noise and roughnecking” devised to veil 
the world that was.”


Before coming to the children “growing up in state housing 
their land was becoming” a night down in abandoned sewer, 
raining outside phosphorous flares above the city, a few 
candles in here, barrel bombs. The child sleeps shoulder 
drooling. Packed close round are other citizens little talk listen 
wide eyes to above the streets at first cried on being wakened 
middle of night. But grown used to stand now near 
the entrance to shelter, watching flares and bombs, chattering, 
nudging, pointing. Will be a strange generation. 


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