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Words from Clay

By Andre F. Peltier

We carve words from clay.

We breathe life into the lungs

of the sentence,

and we wash away the filth.

For forty day and forty nights,

I carry my poems

in the bosom of my ark.

Two by two,

they wait.

Two by two they rise

to see the rainbow.

When the dove returns

with the olive branch

and the vessel rests atop

the Mount Ararat,

the words lift their hearts

to the sun and sing the songs

of a brand-new day.

The poem follows

the brightest star

in the heavens

and gives birth in all

the mangers

of all the worlds.

Surrounded by lambs, goats, llamas,

sewer rats, tarantulas,

and the common garter snake,

I send the sentences out

to wash away the filth.

With flames in their hair,

the words speak in strange

mad tongues;

they call out to distant shores

and remember the war of

Cain and Abel.

They remember the pillars of salt

and the burning bush.

The bush, too, spoke in tongues.

It said, “You are latent

with unseen existences.”[1]

When the Red Sea split open,

I split it with song.

And the burning bush said,

“I think heroic deeds were

all conceiv’d

in the open air.”[2]

The poems themselves

were conceiv’d

in the open air as well.

The clay rose forth from deep

within the soul of the planet.

The soul of the planet sighed

and all seemed beautiful.

The soul of the planet

is rude, incomprehensible,

but never silent.

When the soul rises,

when the rainbow compact

allows for rebirth and rejoice,

it allows only as I wish.

Only as I carve words

from clay.

  1. Whitman, Walt. “Song of the Open Road.” Leaves of Grass. W. W. Norton and Company, 2005.

  2. ibid.


Andre F. Peltier (he/him) is a Pushcart Nominee and a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with his wife and children. His poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Provenance Journal, Lavender and Lime Review, About Place, Novus Review, Fiery Scribe, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently in Muleskinner Journal. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books.

You may find him on Twitter or


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