j o s h u a     y o u n g


from When the Wolves Quit: A Play-in-Verse





in the window-light, i sit and wait for the undanced cadence 
            of vanishing, for that thick 
silence milking over my skin. growing every hour, my body collecting 

                                                        fat as if it was catching lint. 
outside, the suffering moves and breathes, kicking up dust and spores smelling 
            of charcoal and oranges.
trekking through town towards the pass in search of better light, advanced medicine, 
            and free plots 

of land to make their own. passing through, we converse about those things 
            and the fires witnessed 
weeks back, when the counterfeiters from denton congregated around the sewer 

                                                        drain outside the post office demanding something
                                                        real to crucify. 

we handed them a bag of love letters, but they did not read, they did not 
            open a single letter, 
or even hold it up to the sunlight, to steal a glance of its contents. they formed 

a circle, heaved the bag, and set the burlap and paper to fire, singing, 
            ďdonít trust the suits 
theyíre all in cahoots with the evil one.Ē and in the window-light, i sit, still 

waiting, and the conversations have vanished with the suffering, and now, kasey 
            stands in the doorway 
with her hood up, like always, and sheís nodding, as she pours gasoline all over the walls, 
                                                        all over the floor, all over the man in the window
                                                        light, and she smiles as she strikes a match.

                                                        this is how the room is set on fire. this is how it burns.



there's a slick rumble lathering through my chest, and when it settles
            the house is quiet.
the party broke hours ago, and all my friends left debris

in rows from room to room, so cleaning is easy. and as i gather
            the trash and bag it,
i catch the smell of oranges and charcoal lifting from the floor.

in the back room, the floor has been swept and cleaned, and all that's left
            is a girl in the shaded corner of the room.
sheís staring out a big window and tapping a steady beat on the glass.

                                                        i hear a piano ringing out from behind her,
notes lifting, as though her breaths have let them into the room.

i get real close, but canít see her eyes. i know sheís here for me.
            the room seizes and buckles
when she looks at me and says, ďcan you hear that cadence?

itís yours. it belongs to you and what youíve done. wait.
and she rises, but i do not watch her.

                                                        the piano is scales into the higher notes till it clicks
                                                        out steady quarter-notes without tune.


JOSHUA YOUNG lives in Chicago with this wife, son, and dog. He teaches English and studies Poetry in the MFA program at Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of When the Wolves Quit: A Play-in-Verse (forthcoming Gold Wake Press 2012). For information about his films, writing, and other projects visit http://thestorythief.tumblr.com.

I S S N     1 5 5 9 - 6 5 6 7