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Poetry

Harry Youtt

harry-youttHarry Youtt is a long-time instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. He is author of several poetry collections, including What My Father Didn’t Know I learned from Him and I’ll always be from Lorain, as well as several chapbooks. His published poems and a recent short story have garnered several Puschcart nominations.

SWEAT LODGE

There would have been a first long night,
steaming rocks and sheltering tarp,
twig ribs that finally contained me into you –
enfolding all of it – like a quiet beast
lying down to drowse, but boiling at her belly
with all of us bustling inside.

I’d have watched you bring the rocks
and bend and tie the structure.
I would have felt the heat of the steam,
and heard its hissing.

There inside the beast, You –
all of you – and the boy (me) beside you –
would have murmured into the night,
bursting in the heat of things.

In the morning, one of you
would have opened the flap
and helped me to stand alone on my feet.
We would have risen in the cold dark,
and awkwardly we’d have celebrated the sun.

And the songs would have begun
to come out of my nose too,
as I stepped forward beside you
and stomped my feet into your rhythms
becoming OUR rhythms together.

Then all of you, leaving,
would have left behind
rocks and tarps and dancing,
and memory of perspiring shoulders touching –
late into the night – early into the morning,
always.

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