Winter 2009

Table of Contents - Vol. V, No. 4


Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Reviews   

Michael T. Young



For seven years I've tried to approach the ground zero
of my neighborhood, which happens to be the nation's,
my daily walk to work, for a long time, through allies
of wreckage, detours that couldn't circle wider
than the stench of burning flesh, and though
the rubble was carried off and quotidian alarms
sounded the all-clear, the horns triggering explosives
to sink new foundations, the dwelling of our
persistent belief in a future, and my own, the ribs
of the new station arcing like a nest, I wake to a life
still at the edge of ruins, a train snaking round the pit
to disgorge its passengers onto a platform, its length
overlapped in the fog of histories, like the long approach
to Athena's throne, or the Via Appia, but paved over,
stairs at the end rising to the fences, which lead me
round the rim, walking into the low, autumn sun
pressing metallic foil to the bell towers of St. Paul's
and Trinity Church, slowly lifting its head above rooftops,
stretching its fingers through streets, poking the Hudson,
seeming to search with a birdwatcher's quiet caution
for a glimpse of the shadows it can cast but never catch.


Secret Door

I looked down an alley between houses
that seemed to stretch the day's residual light
to the rooftops, compacting distant bridges,
traffic, power lines and towers into its narrow
six-foot passage between bricks and siding.
It was a three-story keyhole into a room reserved
only for trolls and angels, a mythical insight
into forces flying among the sliding headlights
that slowly blinked on along the interstate,
the vague flapping of birds going gray
and mysterious in the thickening dark, steam
and exhaust fumes throwing curtains back
in perpetual disclosure, up the horizon line
stretched like the world's windowsill, the ledge
spilling onto landscapes which, although
visible to no one, are seeded by the bare trees
rooted in this foreground, in this neighbor's yard
dense with lean endurances and knuckled bark,
of naked maples and mulberries still shedding,
and that will continue to shed all winter long
a meaning free of every burden and reason.


© Michael T. Young



Poetry    Translations    Non-Fiction    Fiction    Reviews   

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