Everyday Escapees

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
My poor students, all I ask of them
is to grow antennae, lie down with lava
and rise with snow, grow tongues from
their math assignments and no, Melissa,

your mother won’t approve of the bioluminescent
smear on your communion dress. The world fidgets
in uneasy relationship to our statements
about it nevertheless producing silver

buds from ragged limbs like the luster
in late Frank Sinatra songs. Finally,
when I got off the sixth floor, I felt
like I was walking out into the sky

and aren’t we all pedestrians of air?
Doesn’t it feel all wrong to turn our backs
on the ocean? On an ant? On those Chagall
windows you have to go through a gauntlet

of ancient armor to get to? What was her name,
that night nurse so deft her blood draws
didn’t wake me up? Don’t get me wrong, I want
to wake up. I want my old dog to show me

all that wolf-light she hides inside
even though she thinks I won’t understand,
even though her vet and I conspire
to keep her alive forever.

Source: Poetry (April 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2013
 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), . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Health & Illness, Life Choices

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Quatrain

Report a problem with this poem

Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.