Michael T. Young
I studied and practiced martial arts almost fanatically when I was a teenager but injured my back when I was fifteen. I started writing poetry and by the time my back healed, I decided to be a poet rather than the next Bruce Lee. Since then I’ve published four collections of poetry and received recognitions such as a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. You can keep up with my work at www.michaeltyoung.com.
I like to think of Lot’s wife not looking back,
but going on to another city with her husband,
Hebron maybe, or Gaza, even a small unknown town,
where she gives birth to two daughters and a son,
lives in a house with a vineyard and a view of the sea.
Though not for faithlessness of its people,
they have to move again, tread the long miles
to some new polis in the foothills. In time,
it too will send them packing, like the next,
though each place keeps them long enough to be called home,
where she falls asleep easily and wakes to familiar smells,
yeast in the crock and goats in the street,
from kindling to ashes, seedtime to harvest,
comforting cycles that begin to recall earlier days,
such as the one of their arrival here,
or the day they met their friends who, tonight,
invite them to dinner, and whose faces
will be remembered with the many other cities and faces
they’ve had to leave, the memory of each
salted like meats packed for long voyages.
(first published in Sow’s Ear Poetry Review)
Salting Our Hungers
I have a sweet tooth but the other thirty-one
are savory. So I sugar the moment
but salt the day, as a precaution against
the hundred ways the mind fails.
It’s where time decays, trying to extract
the details of how I ran through corn fields,
outdistanced the farmer, the way stalks slapped
my cold jeans, the mischief of those years
stripped by abrasion, clarity lost
like the shortwave radio’s voice that blisters
in a blackout’s dense night, the kitchen filled
with cigarette smoke, the smell of beer.
At the cusp, the instant chewed and ground,
feeds into the mouth of other ingredients,
a peppered message in the last scotch
before bed, the way that honeyed liquid
tans lamplight to the color of aged paper:
a note written to the body, a love letter
to all its bones. That scribble fades in the mix
like the flavor of who I am lingering on the tongue.
Though unable to distinguish in the blend
what makes it taste like a night of rain: those slick,
aqueous drills enamel the street, layer a mineral glint,
brilliance of the hunger that feeds.
(first published in Fogged Clarity)
©2016 Michael T. Young
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