Salting Our Hungers

I have a sweet tooth but the other thirty-one
are savory. So I sugar the moment
but salt the day, as a precaution against
the hundred ways the mind fails.

It’s where time decays, trying to extract
the details of how I ran through corn fields,
outdistanced the farmer, the way stalks slapped
my cold jeans, the mischief of those years

stripped by abrasion, clarity lost
like the shortwave radio’s voice that blisters
in a blackout’s dense night, the kitchen filled
with cigarette smoke, the smell of beer.

At the cusp, the instant chewed and ground,
feeds into the mouth of other ingredients,
a peppered message in the last scotch
before bed, the way that honeyed liquid

tans lamplight to the color of aged paper:
a note written to the body, a love letter
to all its bones. That scribble fades in the mix
like the flavor of who I am lingering on the tongue.

Though unable to distinguish in the blend
what makes it taste like a night of rain: those slick,
aqueous drills enamel the street, layer a mineral glint,
brilliance of the hunger that feeds.

Michael T. Young has published three collections of poetry: Transcriptions of Daylight, Because the Wind Has Questions and, most recently, Living in the Counterpoint. His next full-length collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, will be published in 2014 by Poets Wear Prada Press. He received a fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He also received the Chaffin Poetry Award and was runner-up for the William Stafford Award. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Coe Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Potomac Review, and The Raintown Review. He lives with his wife and children in Jersey City, New Jersey.