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by P. Ivan Young

Sometimes I want the exact word
for how to say the boy I was
who saw his slight reflection
in a window while he watched the dark
parking lot outside, waiting
for his mother to come home,

or the name

of that silence that isn’t a silence
but the hum of a million things.

I told you once, after a few dates,
when you said, “I’m on my way,”
that I didn’t trust

returns, and when you

showed up anyway, you held my hand,
your nails pressing just enough
into my palm to say you understood.

There must be a word for that.

The summer you left for L.A.,
we practiced a vocabulary
of commitment, but when you said
a month wasn’t that long, I became
the boy again reading the window’s
dark page and every shimmer of headlight

that wasn’t a word at all.

Today, rain starts to fall
while you sit on the porch sipping coffee.
A rabbit slips beneath the fence,
the grass slowly releasing the shape
of its body. The air smells old and new,
Full of earth and water. A word like that,
yes, something that speaks like that.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 2.

P. Ivan Young
P. Ivan Young is author of Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain (Brick House Books, 2015) and the chapbook, A Shape in the Waves (Stepping Stones Press, 2008). He received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council (2011), and is the 2013 winner of the Norton Girault Literary Prize.

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