Michael T. Young: “Flight Patterns”


Dipped in the ink of water and warmth,

wings tipped in pine scent, barn swallows

circled and dove through morning light.

Between oak logs of the lodge wall

and the tree line, their feathers etched a rewrite:

a history in the grasses, a green thatch

of ancient baskets, housing sparrow song

and the long walk from wells. It is not

as the Greeks thought, an omen in flight and favor

rising from earth on the right, or declining

on the left into dark and the dense shrubs

to tell us what tomorrow will be. It is, rather,

a dance, a pulse and response from our kind

to theirs, then from both of us to wind and air.

Waves and currents tangled and flashed,

a memory of the impenetrable luster

of the sea surface in late, angled sunlight.

The weave of these movements is a script,

a telling of the long beaten dirt paths and roads,

traveled up from the shores of our first steps,

it’s a story told along the fences from prehistory,

unfolded down the mountain slopes, stenciled

in scree, in the mountain laurel, in how we rise together,

in how we nest among the branches and sing.

Michael T. Young’s fifth poetry collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water (2018), was released by Terrapin Books. His fourth collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, was published by Poets Wear Prada. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. Young’s poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, including Asheville Poetry Review, Cimarron Review, Cortland Review, Lunch Ticket, Prick of the Spindle, and Potomac Review.

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