Michael Youngs

Three Poems – Michael Youngs

Hot Hands

In our kitchen,
the Head Chef reigns,
with hands seasoned,
hot as the flames.
He plucks sizzling platters
from the oven’s throat.
His ginger hair licks
down his alabaster coat.

To perfect the art,
we must learn to embrace
the scorch of fry pans
and hot oils. No space
for tongs to shield us,
and pain amplified,
we barbecue, baste, bake,
and blacken with pride.

We all must burn,
we’re but Vulcan’s sons,
as we forge our hands
in flames, one by one.


Vanishing Act

My child, winter’s
stiff mask
cakes her face. We are snow,
melting away
to reveal
fall’s final leaves


Taxonomy of Fruit

You are a tomato, botanically speaking.
Cucumbers, squash, green beans, pumpkins,
and you all lurk through life, sneaking
your way into kinky vegetable parties,
clinking glasses, sipping saccharine
juice with several sartorial sea
kale, one dour prairie turnip,
and that darling rogue, Sour Cabbage.
You start jokes with, “How does a lemon
ask for a hug?” and, “Why aren’t
bananas lonely?” Dulse laughs
like light rain. She grazes a radish-
hued sea leaf against your backside,
introduces you to fiddleheads,
their furled accents grassy around
the acrid air. One green
bean, careworn, feckless without
her bunch, wilts in the corner. Near
midnight, you catch yourself: a stranger
in the jeweled hallway mirror.
Crinkled scarlet skin hangs down
in small strips. In spots, a puckered,
patchy bruising with moldy fuzz
begins to bristle. Dulse backs away,
whispers to Romanesco something loose,
out of range. How do they know
your juice tastes strange, earthy, bitter?


Michael Youngs was born and raised in Upstate NY. After graduating with a BA in English from Hartwick College and an MFA in Creative Writing from Enerson College, he began his full-time teaching career as an English professor at SUNY Cobleskill, where he worked from 2000-2007. From 2007-present, he has been a professor at SUNY FMCC and serves as the Humanities Division Chair. Michael lives near Schenectady, NY, with his wife and two children. In addition to writing, Mike spends his free time cooking for the family and playing guitar in several local bands, including Dark Sarcasm, a Pink Floyd tribute act.

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