Dean Young
Commencement Address

I love you for shattering.

Someone has to. Just as someone

has to announce inadvertently

the end of grief or spring’s

splurge even as the bureaucracy’s

spittoon overflows. Someone has to come out

the other end of the labyrinth

saying, What’s the big deal?

Someone has to spend all day staring

at the data from outer space

or separating the receipts

or changing sheets in sour room after room.

I like it when the end of the toilet paper

is folded into a point.

I like napkins folded into swans

because I like wiping my mouth on swans.

Matriculates, come back from the dance floor

to sip at the lacrimal glands of chaos,

a god could be forgiven

for eating you, you’ve been such angels

just not very good ones.

You’ve put your tongue

into the peanut canister

of your best friend’s girlfriend’s mom.

You’ve taken a brown bag lunch

on which was writ another’s name.

All night it snows a blue snow

like the crystallized confessions

you’ve wrung from phantoms

even though it is you wearing the filched necklace,

your rages splitting the concrete like dandelions.

All that destruction from a ball of fluff!

There’s nothing left but hope.

Found In Volume 37, No. 03
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Dean Young
About the Author

Dean Young’s books  include Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012); Primitive Mentor(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008); Embryoyo(McSweeney's, 2007); Ready-Made Bouquet (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); and Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (Graywolf Press, 2010), a book of prose about poetry.