No use telling 
         the dead what 
you’ve learned since 

they’ve learnt it too— 

how to go on 
         without you, the mercy 
of morning, or moving, 

         the light that persists 
even if. 


Beauty is as beauty 
         does, my mother says, 
who is beautiful & speaks 

loud so she can be understood 
         unlike poets who can’t 
talk to save their lives 

so they write. 


It’s like a language, 
can be  

         learned only 
by living—there— 


What anchors us 
         to this thirst 
& earth, its threats 

& thinnesses— 
         its ways of waning 
& making the most of—

of worse & much 
         worse—if not 
this light lifting 

up over the ridge

Copyright © 2023 by Kevin Young. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 28, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.