Michael T. Young
He likes to repeat to himself a phrase from a Keats letter:
I will clamber through the clouds and exist.
It steadies him like leaning against trees,
or brewing coffee to a thick brown resistance.
It’s that kind of private refusal that helps him push on,
dress the children for sleep, clean the kitchen,
kiss his wife goodnight and reach bed on a wave of inertia
where he watches the window blinds hum
with the glow of streetlights beyond them,
and from their edges, strips of scalloped light
dent the darkened wall, and would cut it open like a can
dumping its store of significance to feed his dreaming hungers.
But he never feels ready, never feels alert enough
to the details that go unnoticed like his hangnail,
which, as he rolls over in sleep, scratches his wife’s thigh,
and though she doesn’t wake,
all the next day she wonders why her leg stings.