My poor students, all I ask of them
is to grow antenna, lie down with lava
and rise with snow, grow tongues from
their math assignments and no, Melissa

your mother won’t approve of a bioluminescent
smear on your communion dress. The world fidgets
in uneasy relation to our statements about it
nevertheless producing silver

buds from ragged limbs like the luster
in late Rat Pack songs. Finally,
when I got off the sixth floor, I felt
like I was discharged into the sky

and aren’t we all pedestrians of air?
Doesn’t it feel all wrong to turn our backs
on the ocean? On an ant? On those Chagall
windows you have to walk through a gauntlet

of ancient armor to get to? What was her name,
that night nurse so deft her blood draws
didn’t wake me up? Don’t get me wrong, I want
to wake up. I want my old dog to show me

all that wolf-light she hides inside
even though she thinks I won’t understand,
even though her vet and I conspire
to keep her alive forever.

"Everyday Escapes" from Shock by Shock. Copyright © 2015 by Dean Young. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press,