Why I Don’t Ride a Fixed Gear

I walked down 51st street in the dark,
the heat – a soft bodied wrestler,

I thought of us on bicycles,
of myself on a bicycle.

At the stoplight the full moon
was as big and brief as Arkansas

– Jack and Charlie, knee deep in the Buffalo River,
for a minute, they were everything:
a crow, a spring trout, a muscleman, a kiss,
stickyweed, and the short ridges in a thick palm.

It’s not that the tent was colder that night
but it was.
It’s that when we drove back to Texas
you shaved off your beard,
and looked so different
that I spent a long time at your bathroom mirror,

cheeks beneath my fingers,
considering my own face,
the pink meat of a thick peach,
turning blue.

Loneliness May be in Your DNA

Some people have inherited loneliness like juniper berries.

Your therapist asks you:
How often do you feel that you lack companionship?
How often do you feel isolated from others?
How often do you moan at the night in yellow underwear?

The ache of isolation is
a new city
in a tourniquet.

Nell at the Table

I don’t think Nell eats the way that I do –
four slices of baklava
in front of a laptop
in big underwear.

I picture her rinsing chard
in sandals.

She’d eat alone too,
but not like this –
a city elephant moaning
for herself.

Nell After Work

On Thursday Nell still has a tan
she throws cigarettes out of her bedroom window
and soaks her feet
in a big basin
of Epsom salt and hot water.

At the party tomorrow she’ll wear gold sequins
and move through joy
like a trumpet player
in a powder blue Mustang.

Meteor Shower

the sky is a black anenome,
we watch it explode.

New Jersey, 1999.

(The third brightest star,
a fast animal,
lurches towards
Florida’s moon.)

I haven’t talked to you
in years.

Ally Young is an MFA fellow in poetry at Syracuse University. She is a graduate of Kenyon College where she worked as a reader for the Kenyon Review. She is the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize as well as the John Crowe Ransom Prize for Poetry at Kenyon College. Her work has been published in several print and online journals, including The Fairytale Review and Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review. Her first chapbook, “The West and Other Mistakes” will be released this fall from Dancing Girl Press.