Son of Fog

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
When the fog burns off and the air's pulverized   
diamonds and you can see beyond the islands   
of forever!—far too dramatic for me. It hurts   
something behind my eyes near the sphenoid,   
not good. I prefer fog with fog behind it,   
uninflammable fog. Then there's no competition   
for brightness, no Byron for your Shelley,   
no Juno eclisping your Athena, no big bridge   
statement about bringing unity to landmasses.   
All the thought balloons are blank. The marching   
band can't practice, even a bird's got to get   
within five feet before it can start an argument.   
Like dead flies on the sill of an abandoned   
nursery, we too are seeds in the rattle   
of mortality. A foglike baby god   
picks it up, shakes it, laughs insanely   
then goes back to playing with her feet.   
I have felt awful cold and lonely and fog   
has been blotting paper to my tears.   
My dog is fog and I don't have to scoop   
its poop with my hand in a plastic bag.   
There are sensations that begin in the world,   
the mind responding with ideas but then   
those ideas cause other sensations.   
What a mess. We stand at the edge   
of a drop that doesn't answer back,   
fog our only friend although it's hell   
on shrimpboats. There, there, says the fog.   
Where, where? You can't see a thing.

Source: Poetry (April 2005).


This poem originally appeared in the April 2005 issue of Poetry magazine

View this poem in its original format

April 2005
 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 Nature, Arts & Sciences, Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Weather, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Allusion

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.