Michael T. Young: “Waterfall”


Over scree, up the rock face,

we climb between sorrel and saxifrage,

against the call of gravity, the force

that assembles all beauty up to the highest edge

where steep winds sheer clouds over the peak

of everything we shall never conquer. But down here,

within our reach, water rains down, sloping

an outcrop of glistening rock, and the hard decision

to stop and finally look. We turn there,

at the water top, and inhale the vertiginous view.

The valley’s long expanse invites us,

a proposal that starts a lifetime together

like ours: the slow promise of growth,

the need to take root, admire the pine

clinging a step from the drop. In the distance,

where someone decides to camp

and start their fire, a finger of smoke

pokes the clouds. It’s what they make

of their days and nights on a common ground.

It all goes out and returns, like a red-tailed hawk

circling back to this vantage where we stand,

while between us swirls a curtain of spray,

flaked sunlight scattered and rising

from the endless tumble and roar.

Michael T. Young had his third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water (Terrapin Books, 2018), long-listed for the Julie Suk Award. His previous collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. Young received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. A chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared in numerous journals, including Atticus Review, Gargoyle Magazine, One, Rattle, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.

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