barbara young

Still Life with Guitar

The sudden chill allows a sunny hour.
A man, with a guitar orange
as a maple leaf, lights on the top step
in the sun. In the long rays
he trys this phrase, and this, and this
until one turns ripe and stays
on the strings, hanging tender-sweet,
mellow as a sun-warm pear.


My father-in-law tells me: all
Gatewelders are strong. Honey, now you’re a Gatewelder,
you’re strong, too.
          And he wants that to be true. But can’t
say the words to my face. My face between my baldness
and my parts that can’t be mended with a little patience
and some dowels and glue. So he talks toward the river
willows and the round hill beyond my shoulder, saying
to them you know we love you. You be strong.

Barbara Young says: “I’m Barbara. Aging, without grace, in Tennessee. I was the fat girl who wrote poetry in highschool. Quit in my 20s, thinking poets were supposed to have something to say. Took forty years to accept that I was wrong. I’m fairly stubborn.”