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Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. His previous collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. His poetry has been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. It has also appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Pinyon, Talking River Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Vox Populi.


Trigger Warning

The girl whose parents were shot
in a mass shooting at the local mall
grows up with a hole inside her
where their love would have been.

For a long time, she had a memory
the size of an eyelash, a feel
in the palm of her hand, the heft
of her mother’s hand in hers.

But it was so light it was blown
away, farther from her than
the color of their eyes, which
she also can’t recall unless

she pulls out the photo of them
that she keeps tucked inside
a Bible. On nights she wants
to remember more, she dreams

of a locked door that people
keep trying to convince her
will only open if she uses a gun
to shoot out the lock. But she refuses.

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