Terry Adams


Fear of Flying 

I will daub my eyes and cross my tears.
I feel like I’m
free-range mayonnaise and beers.
And forgive while the pun the un
tidy falconer strums
un gloved, so I might freely alight
on the bare wrist flesh
of who’s controlling my flight,
even though it is an inner flight
for which I arrived two lives early
to have my retinue scanned
and my luggage crammed.
Yes sir, yes sir, two bags full
for free.
My mood will be flying unattended
today—you see?


Was a Movie

I spent my childhood
in a cowboy hat, in a movie
I entered late, watching
the plot for where
I came in.
It was not completion it was
peas rolling in the highchair tray
becoming a Queen’s Gambit
Accepted.        My flexible flyer
I roped to the roof of my first Chevy
and my cap shooters twirled
gracefully into conscientious
objection, like I’d
always been that way.       I don’t mean—
yes I do mean—I recognize
most everyone who recognizes me.
I’ve been king of
dusty backyards looking through
these lovely windows on the rocks.
I probably just thought it all up
knowing the end by now
is just
another middle.


You Are My Friend

you are my friend,
but if you want to be more of a friend,
you must write me poems
and read my poems.
We have signed up for that other language—it is a way
out of the morass,
it is a way out of the fog, the doldrums,
the pain, and back in there
also.  It is my way out, and a way in, it is a way
we can live together without
all the breakfasts.



A week after he died
in the VA hospital
I let myself

into his apartment,
as hollow and alien
as his wallet.

The toaster I sent him
when we thought he was dying
from eating wrong,

unused on the counter,
next to boxes
of junk mail.
No sign of cancer in the walls,
the stainless sink.

What he might have said to me
were strings of doodles
in the margin

of his last newspaper.
Overlapping squares,
making the illusion

of cubes;
five-pointed stars,
and a few single-stroke,

eight-pointed stars,
which I also mastered once
but had forgotten.


Inheritance II

I was my father’s feeling,
but first I was his inkling,
or his pinky
on mother’s clit.
I know what you are thinking:
what about that glint? 
Well, life begins factually
when one is hit,
or hugged, or lifted from
a crib and squeezed to fit.
He was the ache of
sleepless midnight,
the sound of a distant fight,
the 4th primary color in me.
I aspire to his likeness.
He is the fallen
from my living tree.
I am his confession,
his penance,
his glee.