Human Lot

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
I’m amazed we haven’t crawled off by now.
Later we could go back and cross things out,
that way we wouldn’t know where we came from,
the shapes we asked to be bent into.
Sinatra’d be okay again,
mother the same distal approximation,
the sea still trying to spit it out.
Sometimes your sleep is different than mine.
I can’t catch up.
I don’t know—there are voices tangled outside.
Wind wants to make me correct something,
the refrigerator says something needs to be pushed
further from the sun.
Out where the sunset ends, they’ve installed a graveyard
and where it rises, some automatons bash together
mellifluous metal tubing
imparting a festive contusion
to the usual calm disaster of getting out of bed.
To find out why life has this glass sparkle
at the end of a dark hall.
To find out why the paper skeleton holds its hands
demurely over its crotch. Did it fall that way?
To find out how we fell.
There is a name to wake into and music to sleep through.
To find out where the blood comes from on the towels.
Old friends, I believe your betrayals were inadvertent.
To find out if my heart is unruined.
Father, are you out there
or was your corpse accurate?
Something happened to me when I was young
that I don’t want to happen again
but I remember the first smell of ocean
when the family got out of the car in Jersey
to buy peaches. Spark thrust, spark dust.
The road was sand.

Source: Poetry (October 2009).


This poem originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2009
 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Men & Women, Home Life, Arts & Sciences, Philosophy

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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