How to Increase My Vocabulary, Michael T. Young

Marilyn Higginson, Morning on Livermore Road, Oil, 36″ X 48″


How to Increase My Vocabulary


Winnow each silence to expose the seeds
           of someone struggling to find an answer.

                  Ordain stillness to be the fallow ground of a season
that will grow what must be said.

                                                                    Require an answer to the wind in me
                                                                          that asks, what are the words I’m afraid to use?

Draggle its answer, these are your ghosts,
          plant it in my heart’s muck and sprout.

     Sun myself in every question and answer:
                 What are the words I’m not allowed to use?

Oh, those are your tyrants. What are,
                regrettably, the words I never think to use?

                Damned from the beginning, these are the voices
                  sucking at your ink for their unwritten histories.

Michael T. Young

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