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The Mission

Back there then I lived
across the street from a home

for funerals—afternoons
I'd look out the shades

& think of the graveyard
behind Emily Dickinson's house—

how death was no
concept, but soul

after soul she watched pour
into the cold

New England ground.
Maybe it was the sun

of the Mission,
maybe just being

more young, but it was less
disquiet than comfort

days the street filled with cars
for a wake—

children played tag
out front, while the bodies

snuck in the back. The only hint
of death those clusters

of cars, lights low
as talk, idling dark

as the secondhand suits
that fathers, or sons

now orphans, had rescued
out of closets, praying

they still fit. Most did. Most
laughed despite

themselves, shook
hands & grew hungry

out of habit, evening
coming on, again—

the home's clock, broke
like a bone, always

read three. Mornings or dead
of night, I wondered

who slept there & wrote letters
I later forgot

I sent my father, now find buoyed up
among the untidy

tide of his belongings.
He kept everything

but alive. I have come to know
sorrow's

not noun
but verb, something

that, unlike living,
by doing right

you do less of. The sun
is too bright.

Your eyes
adjust, become

like the night. Hands
covering the face—

its numbers dark
& unmoving, unlike

the cars that fill & start
to edge out, quiet

cortège, crawling, half dim, till
I could not see to see—

by Kevin Young

Comments (1)

nice flow.. normal man can't read this.. because you are special. good