Of Life

A poem by Michael T. Young


It used to be a slice, just enough to fill you,

keep you going. These days, it’s edited

down to a crumb, whatever scrap can stick

to the brain in a sweeping glance of the room.

A pause long enough to say, “You, there,

I like your sneakers.” But then on to something

else. That’s the history of how the whole pie

was scattered. Of course, there’s now

nothing to tell since the telling was lost

in the scattering. It used to be the news

would let us in on parts of it that others

kept to themselves, like a family secret.

But even journalists seem to have no idea

these days: shuffle the lines of the story

as if it didn’t matter what order they came in,

add a twist to the plot, or tell us a joke.

It’s a kind of diversion from the empty cabinets.

Although some of us wander at night,

a little delirious, lost but looking down alleys

and through abandoned buildings, hoping

to stumble on a larger piece to bring back

to the kitchens, serve it up so we can be filled

with something other than hunger.

Michael T. Young’s fourth collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, was published by Poets Wear Prada. His forthcoming collection, Turpentine, was accepted for publication by Terrapin Books. His chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the 2014 Jean Pedrick Award. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Chaffin Poetry Award. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Cimarron ReviewComstock ReviewThe Cortland ReviewLunch Ticket, and The Potomac Review. His work is also in the anthologies Phoenix RisingChance of a Ghost and in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems. He lives with his wife, children, and cats in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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