It starts with a shot of sunset, and a dram
of the last memory lodged in you like a splinter.
Let it sink in. Milk it, sure there’s enough that when
the forgotten tune returns, you feel it moving.
Then pluck any taut string—not just guitars—
until you hear your heart bleeding through it.
These arteries will vibrate like paper cuts,
and you will know your inside as outside.
Hum to yourself with the lights out
until everything breeds a new shape
familiar as a territorial pissing. That dark
will press down like something in the way.
The effort to lift it or open it will drain you,
an exhaustion that bleaches your time
so you don’t need the lithium or the guns.
This is a truth many will not believe.
The final waking will be like walking through
your own eye lids, a search for your nest of salt.
In that sunburn, all apologies, you will come
as you are: endless, nameless, and in bloom.
Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. 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 Pinyon, Talking River Review, One, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.