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By Darlene Young

There are days when, visiting a depressed friend, I find 
her houseplants are dying in the background 
while she claims all is well
but also days when the morning percolates 
in carnation pink glory behind and above
the smog, dewbangling the cobwebs. 


Some days the smell of dirty snow, grim with the sins 
of the city, makes everything taste of pity, mis-strung and trite,
but some days the sweet pale call of wind in spruces 
summons me, though I’m not sure—don’t even want to be sure—
what it’s calling me to. 


What a world, sodden with polkas and quick loans, 
graffiti and gummy bears. 
But the shook foil! The creek-cooled watermelon! 
This grand, sad trunk-or-treat, 
junk drawer of twist-ties and twine—
I still crave it, lick the back of the spoon. 
The brindled shiver of a curtain in a drowsy afternoon, 
bumblebees and Crackerjack, a toddler putting 
his whole fist through the middle of his birthday cake: 
enough! I’m snagged, in for the long haul 
tap-dancing until the curtain call. 


This poem originally appeared in Young’s book, Count Me In, published by Signature.

Born and raised in Utah, Darlene Young currently lives in South Jordan with her husband and sons. She received her BA from Brigham Young University (1994) and, after raising her family, returned there for her MFA (2014). She teaches Creative Writing and Literature of the LDS People at Brigham Young University and Brigham Young University-Salt Lake. Young writes poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Her essay “Notes on the Back of the Recipe,” which appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Other essays have appeared in various journals. Her poetry collection, Homespun and Angel Feathers, was published by BCC Press in 2019. Her poetry has been anthologized in Fire in the Pasture: 21st Century Mormon Poets (Peculiar Pages, 2011), Moth and Rust (Signature, 2017), The Best of Mormonism (Curelom Books, 2009), The Mother in Me (Deseret Book, 2008) and other collections. Her YA novel, Inside Out, won second place in the Utah Arts Council contest, 2009.