Issue 5: Dean Young

Sometimes a White Veil

The hours are singing the singing hours.

Maybe a wolf. Maybe a hundred carnations.

Maybe the room is white, the furniture white,

the rain singing the singing rain down.

Maybe it’s just a small cough. Maybe

the water comes out brown with a smell

and the young couple have to leave the house

then each other. The whole splashing sideshow

or umbrella lost, the parted and reunited,

flood warning, the king of his deathbed

knowing his son is a blockhead and

the bishops murderous thieves

in the story the boy reads unable to sleep.

And the berries hidden in thorns,

and the lock with its key broken,

the heart that opens, the life

that falls apart. Maybe a scarf.

Maybe you’ll get that week alone at the beach,

nothing required. Maybe the pills will work,

your Aunt in France sell her novel.

Maybe you won’t be crushed.

Maybe a parakeet, maybe a dove.

Big Paw

Plastic chair, do you remember

the last Armageddon, how the gods fought

with hammers and poisoned sandwiches?

Puddle, are you too an electric lamp

with a tiny Cesar Vallejo for a filament?

I still have your ghost story in my forsythia.

Memoir, you have blown down the street

and now what – could you be any more victorious?

I hope to continue in this trust-worthy mode

to the great taciturnity of the cement angels

composing the cemetery gateway.

Baby Mira, it’s hard to get anything

to answer back. By the time you want

to drive yourself to the gas station,

all the fossil fuels will be gone.

You will have to squeeze twigs and flowers.

Already you smell like basil. The future

is easy to imagine once you're managed

to imagine there is one. Look at all

those objects persisting through time,

some without obviously bleeding to death,

others bartering with worms for immortality.

I'm just going to sit here while you sell

holding this ice cube close to my heart

as long as I can. It calls me its puppet,

its pyro, its own.

Dean Young's recent publications include Embryoyo (2007), Primitive Mentor (2008, shortlisted for the 2009 Griffin Prize), and The Art of Recklessness (2010). He is the William Livingstone Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas, Austin