Handout by Michael T. Young

Photo of crumpled book pages
Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

A day of forgetting has its price, but a price
that can’t be reckoned, because the receipt itself
was shoved into a pocket, soaked in the laundry,
tumbled in the dryer into a hard pebble of paper,
a symbol of nothing specific enough to reconstruct
a story. And what was purchased is like candle scent
settling throughout the house, seeping into fabrics—
curtains and couches, lampshades, sinking through
the thin space between floorboards, until finally
it’s so diffused there’s no trace of its floral ribbons.
Which is why a day of forgetting also has its debt,
a sum owed to the thrifty, those who saved
against more than the rainy day, but the sluicing
and drainage of leaves and petals that pile up
and clog the sewer grates, the day of fog and regret,
those who know the exchange rate of compassion,
what it costs to embrace someone else, the hand offered,
the hand extended beyond anything that is owed.

Michael T. Young
Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Pinyon, Talking River Review, One, and Vox Populi.

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