Close Reading

I used to read while nestled in a crook
of maple branches, or seated on a slab of concrete
that jutted into lake water,
striders coasting the rumpled sheets.

Reeds on the far shore needled the shallows
writing a subtext into palms of sunlight
alluding to trout and bass tunneling the deep,
to the early alphabets of mud and rock.

Mallards skirred the surface by day,
bats skimmed it by night, their wings
scratching brief calligraphies into the water.
There was always something to read,

a word or glyph to decipher: Canada geese
pausing in their long migrations,
or a dead fish with pierced armor
leaking his guts to the summer sun,

to flies unzipping the air
in busy gratitude, to those days
when my idea of heaven was so big
it contained even this.

Michael T. Young has published two collections of poetry, most recently, Transcriptions of Daylight. His next chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, will be published in 2012 by Finishing Line Press and his next full-length collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, will be published in 2013 by Black Coffee Press. He has received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a William Stafford Award from Rosebud Magazine, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrow Street, Edison Literary Review, Iodine Poetry Review, The Potomac Review and The Same, among many other journals.