What tends toward orbit and return,
comets and melodies, robins and trash trucks
restore us. What would be an arrow, a dove
to pierce our hearts restore us. Restore us
minutes clustered like nursing baby bats
and minutes that are shards of glass. Mountains
that are vapor, mice living in cathedrals,
and the heft and lightness of snow restore us.
One hope inside dread, “Oh what the hell”
inside “I can’t” like a pearl inside a cake
of soap, love in lust in loss, and the tub
filled with dirt in the backyard restore us.
Sunflowers, let me wait, let me please
see the bridge again from my smacked-up
desk on Euclid, jog by the Black Angel
without begging, dream without thrashing.
Let us be quick and accurate with the knife
and everything that dashes restore us,
salmon, shadows buzzing in the wind,
wren trapped in the atrium, and all
that stills at last, my friend’s cat,
a pile of leaves after much practice,
and ash beneath the grate, last ember
winked shut restore us. And the one who comes
out from the back wiping his hands on a rag,
saying, “Who knows, there might be a chance.”
And one more undestroyed, knocked-down nest
stitched with cellophane and dental floss,
one more gift to gently shake
and one more guess and one more chance.
Dean Young was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and received his MFA from Indiana University. His numerous collections of poetry include Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Skid (2002), finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Primitive Mentor (2008), shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. He has also written a book on poetics, The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (2010). Young has been awarded an Academy Award in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His poems have been featured in Best American Poetry numerous times. He has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College, and the University of Texas-Austin, where he holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry.
“Restoration” appears in our Spring 2011 issue.