Michael T. Young
It’s not simply the dirt or the peony rupturing it.
It goes deeper down but also higher up than that.
Once, when a bat’s wing caught a wave as he curved
toward a water strider, I heard it plume the lake.
But the next day when I sat under a tree, reading,
the roots knuckling me added to that stem.
Though it was not something merely grounded.
My foot sticking out from under the shade,
grew warm in the translation of another word for it,
traveler from the country of fire. Later,
as clouds shaped the day, their parenthetical
floated a prefix that lifted its identity into thin air.
I breathed deeply, and remembered who I am.
If my heart keeps going back to the lake
whose water I sat by as a teenager,
it’s not nostalgia but what my roots supply.
Dragonflies, and sun jewels cut
into its wave crests from a day long gone
nourished an insight that emerged only today.
It’s not wisdom, but how every flower
that bloomed along my path since then
draws a shade of color from that reedy shore.
Each pond or puddle reflects back
through years, returning dead swifts
into the air, to the flight that lifted
my thoughts on their wings, banking
above the tree line, weaving patterns
intricate as arteries that sustain,
over a distance of the oldest memories,
what appears now, even to close friends,
like clouds of the approaching rain.
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 in numerous journals including Cimarron Review, Gargoyle Magazine, One, Rattle, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.