Michael T. Young
I grew up in the suburbs of Reading, Pennsylvania and moved to New York in 1990 to live the bohemian life among other artists in the Village. A lifetime later, I am an administrative assistant at Deloitte, and live with my wife and two children in Jersey City. My fourth collection of poetry, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, was published by Poets Wear Prada. My chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the 2014 Jean Pedrick Award from the New England Poetry Club. I received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Chaffin Poetry Award. My work has appeared in numerous journals including Edison Literary Review, The Louisville Review, Off the Coast, The Potomac Review, and The Raintown Review.
Scattering the Gift
tribute to William Stafford
The earth says hold me close,
make mud packs and warm
your cold bones. Wrap yourself
in my shades, my darkest roots,
and feed yourself on the same storms
that feed all my grimy children.
The earth says plant your feet
and take root in my banks, drink
deep of the wellsprings, and
think as my rivers think, splashing
with the flash and dazzle of water
reflecting the summer light.
The earth says change with me,
dance through the seasons, dressing
and undressing like my mountains,
and like my sky, take all I have to give
into yourself, only to scatter it
as far over the continents as you can.
Beside me on the train a man is reading in Chinese.
He turns the pages from left to right,
skimming characters from right to left, and top to bottom.
I read in the opposite direction, in English,
observing how our contrary motions
mirror each other’s gestures of comprehension.
Our heads tilt in a slow nod or shake;
our eyes cross figures in the air
writing a tenuous language that seems to say
there is no backward or forward,
no behind or ahead, only movement
from character to character, from stop to stop,
in books, on trains, in memory — a turn, a switch,
a pattern like the recollection of a wind
quilting the water of a lake, a remembered place
where this grand gesture of air
sweeps over the surface, and reaching the shore,
without pause, passes on, losing itself
in the maple trees at the foot of the mountain,
only the smell of spring leaves lingering.
-first published in Rattapallax
©2015 Michael T. Young