Scarecrow on Fire

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
We all think about suddenly disappearing.
The train tracks lead there, into the woods.
Even in the financial district: wooden doors
in alleyways. First I want to put something small
into your hand, a button or river stone or
key I don’t know to what. I don’t
have that house anymore across from the graveyard
and its black angel. What counts as a proper
goodbye? My last winter in Iowa there was always
a ladybug or two in the kitchen for cheer
even when it was ten below. We all feel
suspended over a drop into nothingness.
Once you get close enough, you see what
one is stitching is a human heart. Another
is vomiting wings. Hell, even now I love life.
Whenever you put your feet on the floor
in the morning, whatever the nightmare,
it’s a miracle or fantastic illusion:
the solidity of the boards, the steadiness
coming into the legs. Where did we get
the idea when we were kids to rub dirt
into the wound or was that just in Pennsylvania?
Maybe poems are made of breath, the way water,
cajoled to boil, says, This is my soul, freed.

Dean Young, "Scarecrow on Fire" from Fall Higher. Copyright © 2011 by Dean Young.  Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Fall Higher (Copper Canyon Press, 2011)

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Poet Dean Young b. 1955

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Life Choices, The Body, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

 Dean  Young

Biography

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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, The Body, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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