By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
More than the beetles turned russet,
sunset, dragging their shield, more than
the crickets who think it’s evening all afternoon,   
it’s the bees I love this time of year.

Sated, maybe drunk, who’ve lapped at the hips   
of too many flowers for one summer but   
still must go on hunting, one secret
closing, another ensuing, picking

lock after lock, rapping the glass,
getting stuck in a puddle of dish soap,   
almost winter, almost dark, reading far past   
the last paragraph into the back blank page,

acknowledgments, and history of type.   
I think when my head finally cracks
out will come one of those ravening scouts   
autumnal with hunger beyond any sipping,

swallowing, beyond the hive’s teeming   
factory’s needs. I think maybe then,   
when I’m dying like a bug in a puddle   
of dish soap, I’ll be relieved,

my wings wet capes and not working,   
antennae slicked back and not working,   
eye that sees the ruby above going out,
eye that sees the ruby within getting brighter

as I drag myself to a tomato ripening   
on the window sill, reddest, softest   
island of my last planet, last aureola,   
stinger waving and useless. I’ll wait then,

while air from the north rushes gulf air,   
a tree indicating wildly, each leaf woke   
in orange outcry. It won’t be suffering,   
exactly. Rain coming, then gone, a chill

that means all my barbarous kind are alone   
and perishing, our unrecognizable young   
buried and waiting, bodies of fire becoming   
bodies of air. I don’t think there’s any way

to prepare.

Dean Young, “Colophon” from First Course in Turbulence. Copyright © 1999 by Dean Young. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press,

Source: First Course in Turbulence (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999)

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Poet Dean Young b. 1955

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Summer, Nature, Fall, Weather, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Dean  Young


Poet Dean Young was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and received his MFA from Indiana University. Recognized as one of the most energetic, influential poets writing today, his numerous collections of poetry include Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Skid (2002), finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Primitive Mentor (2008), . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Summer, Nature, Fall, Weather, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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