The gray wave expects to clear our railings
by the end of today. Its rhythm is patience.
Cradled on land then inhaled into walls,
water’s in business with a subtle moon. They
have a plan but won’t tell. You watch
the sea foam simmer from the middle story
of a burning building. Its flames blow east
the way everyone predicted. It was a matter
of time, there was that night you fell asleep with
candles burning near the drapes, the day you left
a thicket of lint to choke the dryer. The fire forgave you
then, but you owed him.
                                        Just as you owe the earwig
who, for the third day now, waits in your phone’s receiver,
pincers sharpening on the stone of their own mercy.
You dial someone to insist the worst
must be over. Can you hear him
tapping? There’s a message
in his code: you’re afraid
                                        of the wrong catastrophe.

Allison Adair's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best New Poets 2015, Boston Review, The Missouri Review, Mid-American Review, Tahoma Literary Review, The Boston Globe, and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts; and her interactive literary projects have been featured on The Rumpus and Electric Literature. The winner of the Fall 2015 Orlando Prize and the 2014 Fineline Competition, she teaches at Boston College and Grub Street.