Turpentine
by MICHAEL T. YOUNG



I might be late to meet a friend because I want to listen
to bacon repeat its delicious static in the kitchen,
or stand at the window looking into the yard,
trying to decipher the hieroglyphs of shadow
stenciled in the carpet of dead leaves, or hear them
tapping together in wind like a collection of beads,
wondering what each color signifies, each sound,
or I might stay up late again, noting different shades of dark,
the variant tones of a distant train here in Jersey City
blending with traffic, steam pipes, and stray cats
huddled under cars for warmth, and how this weave
differs from what I remember in Pennsylvania
carried in the heavy chill through sugar maples,
like a thread wound and unwound in their limbs,
and how these two versions of a distant train are distant
from each other, divergent farther down their tracks
than can be seen at any point along the way, or hinted at
in their cargos, or understood by their schedules, because
they travel circuits of private meaning, intimate as memories,
like those of my uncles who were all carpenters, who all
hammered and painted their lives out of wood and wallpaper,
and filled their refrigerators with mason jars of turpentine,
brush handles poking up like wooden beaks, the acrid smell
filling the house with what I remember as the power of revision.

MICHAEL T. YOUNG has published two collections of poetry, most recently, Transcriptions of Daylight.  He received a 2007 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a 2008 William Stafford Award.  He was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and received the Chaffin Poetry Award for 2005.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Iodine Poetry Review, Loch Raven Review, RATTLE, The Same, Sweet and many other journals.  His work is also in the anthologies Phoenix Rising and Chance of a Ghost.  He currently lives with his wife and son in Jersey City, New Jersey.