Four Poems

Joshua Young



the wreckage scattered across both lanes / & what are your serious concerns / psychedelic regret / snow salt from the pages of the new testament / the rest of you can lug around shotguns / the fact is not really a fact / the pilot coat / that way you say / i just got the fat cut / dude / the screen goes blue / & someone ahead of us keeps screaming / i saw you i saw you in target buying that fancy shit for those filthy fucking baby those filthy diapers, did you smell this / the car clears / we all forget how to utter truth for a moment



i am silent with guilt so the gums of the neighborhood went black who painted over whales & we cannot molt not now not when the hip-pattern & femoral tract tilt like sharks these have skeletons of cartilage—i’m trying to say i’m sorry mouths vowels do not use pitch you have terrible handwriting we want mantles the crescent-base of that sandpiper trail—is this the best place to say i’m sorry horizons of corn & billboards about jesus even the trees yawn—



who claims what the water takes what of this is tied to the bible? there is rust a layer of it there are children dipping their hands into the lake when they yank up their hands they are flaked with rust i am waiting for water & you have made the spare bed—dogs howl out behind highway motels in the corn & the local kids go looking for the water they do not return we pretend they found a new life but we worry that they’ve been buried what affects your language? something dark sap & fatty like pitch slithers into the well fills our tub speak we will put the words together



we should probably discuss this affair untangles in the seclusion there are so many animals you won’t say my name again just yesterday you asked me where the beans were the crockpot thank god the electricity’s going you said today you dig out a bible you read about the flood this sounds familiar you say you are speaking again but it’s not really to me when i ask if you’ve read it before


you don’t respond this is not like genesis this is different this isn’t about preservation so much as getting what we asked for what happens when the water covers the fields when it reaches our house what happens when the water level is too high to drive the truck through what happens when my name means only the past what happens when you


can’t even look at me anymore i say that hasn’t happen has it? i ask all these things as you read i like the way you look out the window instead of answering there’s something hopeful in that or maybe you see a bird it’s safe to assume you’d know where to hide the best weapons for this conversation the horizon flares up & ok there is something worth saying let it eat a hole in our stairwell


JOSHUA YOUNG is the author of six collections, most recently Psalms for the Wreckage (Plays Inverse Press, 2017) and w/ Alexis Pope, I Am Heavy w/ Feeling: A Correspondence (Fog Machine, 2017). His work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Court Green, Fugue, Puerto del Sol, cream city review, Salt Hill, and others. His feature film, Do You See Colors When You Close Your Eyes? was Official Selection at the Seattle International Film Festival, Athens International Film Festival, and the Montreal International Black Film Festival. He works at the University of Chicago and lives in the Albany Park neighborhood with two humans.