Michael Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. His previous collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and his chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. Young’s poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared in numerous journals including One, Pinyon, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Vox Populi.
Your bottom jaw was always at an angle
making it impossible to articulate your words.
I was told that when you were young your jaw
was broken and never set. A story of neglect
I saw continued by my aunt—your sister—and
her daughters, who never took the time
to understand you, as if the mouthed vowels
were a creaking door no one cared to repair.
On visits, everyone sat in the kitchen chattering
over the family gossip. I sat with you in the
living room, laboring through your A’s and O’s
and how they told a story of someone lost
in a field at night, throwing signals into the dark,
hoping anyone would see and come searching.