[mp3=http://jpicforum.info/audio-poem-of-the-day/kevin-young_the-mission.mp3]The Mission By Kevin Young[/mp3] [fieldset=The Mission by Kevin Young (b. 1970)]Back there then I lived across the street from a home for funerals—afternoons I’d look out the shades & think of the graveyard behind Emily Dickinson’s house— how death was no concept, but soul after soul she watched pour into the cold New England ground. Maybe it was the sun of the Mission, maybe just being more young, but it was less disquiet than comfort days the street filled with cars for a wake— children played tag out front, while the bodies snuck in the back. The only hint of death those clusters of cars, lights low as talk, idling dark as the secondhand suits that fathers, or sons now orphans, had rescued out of closets, praying they still fit. Most did. Most laughed despite themselves, shook hands & grew hungry out of habit, evening coming on, again— the home’s clock, broke like a bone, always read three. Mornings or dead of night, I wondered who slept there & wrote letters I later forgot I sent my father, now find buoyed up among the untidy tide of his belongings. He kept everything but alive. I have come to know sorrow’s not noun but verb, something that, unlike living, by doing right you do less of. The sun is too bright. Your eyes adjust, become like the night. Hands covering the face— its numbers dark & unmoving, unlike the cars that fill & start to edge out, quiet cortège, crawling, half dim, till I could not see to see—[/fieldset] ------------------------- Source: Poetry (October 2009).