“How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?”
– Stanley Kunitz
It started at the shore. The sun
radiated like a knot in a wood plank.
It was also the unappeasable heart
burning, multiplying in sea water,
scattered in waves to teach the world
how to hunger. Gulls broke clams over rocks
and the dimensions of desire,
how it grows in the dense kelp forests
dark and shaking with sea slugs and peanut worms,
down even to the abstract roots of the mind.
It’s why words and thoughts
seem to wriggle up from slime,
surface to shake off their wings
and fly into overhanging trees like dragonflies.
So take communion with the moon
as a wafer, a history of natural changes
and mythological weather. Be the inlander
in love with the margins of the sea.
Carry a bag of earth and bend over
to reflect the reflective strand and gather
fragments of shell, bits of sea glass,
sand, and flakes of the breakwater,
stashing them in pockets. With all that to carry,
it will be miraculous that you don’t grow heavy.
Then turn to retreat through the dunes,
loaded with your store. The green folds of hillside
in the distance will open like arms to embrace you,
our soils enriched by the return,
the reminder of who we all are.
Advance copies of Michael T. Young’s fourth collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, are available from the publisher, Poets Wear Prada. He received the 2014 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award for his collection, Living in the Counterpoint. Young also received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He lives with his wife and children in Jersey City, New Jersey.