The Mission By Kevin Young

Discussion in 'Audio Poem of the Day' started by FlamingFeenix, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. FlamingFeenix

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    [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

    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

    Source: Poetry (October 2009).
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