Michael T. Young: “Each Senescent Day”




I meet my neighbor while putting out garbage
or shoveling snow, offer names or stories
like possible sacrifices to the god of his silence:
weathervane, or lightning whelk, or maybe
spelunking with Daniel Craig in a cave
of sleeping bats, or remembering a train ride
along the Rhine with my father nibbling cheese,
sipping wine as he never would have. The problem
is the past is mined from the same deposits
as imagination. We dive down in search of
unchiseled stone but surface with a statue
or framed painting. Think of this morning’s sun
spliced through the door’s beveled window,
how it colored the hall slate in reds and blues
and yellows, how all that display is from the same light.
My neighbor waves these on, saying he’s doing well,
though he’s going to visit his ailing brother
this weekend. Might be the last time they reminisce
about fireworks over the bridges of Venice
or their tour in Vietnam. I apologize for
that depletion of our common wellspring,
then I point up, remarking on a cloud
that looks like a rabbit slowly breaking onto
a riverbank of sunbathers. My neighbor lights
a cigarette, a tongue coiling in a whisper,
another name for this river of smoke and mirrors.



Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted 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, as well as in numerous journals, including Banyon Review, Pinyon, Talking River Review, and Vox Populi.

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