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Michael T. Young

Strategy for Discovering the Blessed World

Make a dance of everything, shake each stillness

nested in the hands like diseased birds. Watch memories

fly off, their wings beating a song into the air

distinguishing the hours and minutes—your smile

lingering before a Stieglitz at the museum, our son

sipping chamomile tea, the aroma scenting his hair,

sweet on a winter night before your birthday.

Though it was a prophecy neither of us recognized

when we looked through our hotel window in Florence

and an arc of pigeons passed behind the Duomo,

vanishing into its shape: take note of it today, how

even Michelangelo would have missed a hint so subtle.

Notice the silences shivering between the leaves overhead.

This is a way to spin and dip the sharp griefs

to dull their edges and wake along that same ray of sunlight

that married time to desire as it rose in your eyes,

we leaned toward each other and kissed.

This shuffle between fractures in the day, joins

your breath to mine, locking in place the floor of our history,

a grace we walk across, making a blessing so small,

it fits between our bodies when they’re pressed together.

Learning to Trust My Son

With a handful of stars and a pocketful of rivers

my son decided on a career change.

It was then the chambers of Congress

filled with sparrows.

Instructions on how to build nests

were mailed to every house, and songs

could be heard as if bubbling up

from springs in the sidewalks.

Laws governing how to stop and go,

and which direction to take, were revised,

so even clouds found their way,

and glaciers took detours to winter.

My son handed me some feathers

and a wind blew through the keyholes.

It was then I threw open the doors

and all the river water burst forth.


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. He received a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His 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 or is forthcoming in numerous journals, including Banyan Review, Gargoyle Magazine, The Inflectionist Review, Talking River Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.


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