Adam Day

Midnight's 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. 

Adam Day

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