I learned that in an interview to enter Oxford
they might ask how you would describe infinity,
and I thought about once being asked
how I would describe a paperclip to an alien,
that is, to someone who’s never seen one.
It was a writing exercise that made me think
of how I would describe the autumn mountains
where I grew up, and I decided that they
are the color of whiskey and intoxication,
and exuberance, which might be a way
of describing a paperclip, that is, a wire
that’s intoxicated, wandering in circles,
swiveling on its heals as it makes its way out
to meet friends that it embraces, holds together
in a maudlin circle of endearment,
all of which is also how I think of the infinite:
as an irrational embrace of generosity.

Michael T. Young has published two collections of poetry: Because the Wind Has Questions and Transcriptions of Daylight. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a 2008 William Stafford Award. His poetry has appeared in The Adirondack Review, Barn Owl Review, Barrow Street, Iodine Poetry Journal, and The Same, among others.

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