Young People Today

by Mary Crockett Hill
Apparently they're having sex and eating
non-stop Taco Bell and wearing strange
perfumes and t-shirts that proclaim,
"Hey you! Wanna have my baby?"

And I've considered it and yes I do.
I want that blind white tug
of baby mouth, the pull of milk
as ostentatious as the high note

that a diva won’t stop singing.
Looking back, I want more
of sun and field and blanket,
the groundhog who is always

twenty feet away, gnawing
yard greens and pretending
he doesn’t see me
so he won’t have to run.

In the sense that all pleasures
are at root a threat, I want
a ship that sails into oblivion,
its curtains warbling tra-la, tra-lee

and the mercy of horizon
beyond reach. I should stop
to ask what you want.
What is it? Surely

not my baby after all.
I might guess something
between possession and longing
—an unfolded sheet of paper,

but that would just be
guessing. And here, the saying of it,
blasphemy? So instead, let's open
the quietest part of our hands

as we sit and watch the weather
tumble into evening. Perhaps
you'll take out your spent chewing gum
and loll it between your fingers.

Perhaps the sky will open
its clamorous petals above us
and what we don't want to look at
will be blurred in the rain.

© 2007 by Mary Crockett Hill. All rights reserved.

Mary Crockett Hill is author of the award-winning book of poems If You Return Home with Food and co-author of the history A Town by the Name of Salem. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, as well as the anthology American Poetry: The Next Generation. She lives and works in southwestern Virginia. You may reach her at