Brandon Young

Alternative Deindustrial Domestic

The truth: I’ve spent too much time imagining.

A different earth, where?

This isn’t all what we were. All I was. Nights when

I forget the winters.

Where I grew up. Darkness—silence stayed untouched.

I forget the garbage bags

of clothes my grandmother bought for us kids

from garage sales.

Bargain bins. Then wet summer air, clouds above me.

I remember.

On the news there is another drying lake. I chose

to love again.

Another man. We cannot find the end of our story.

Stories to parse.

Through language like some distant memory.

Like we own it.

I look up the word Gospel to feel weight.

-spel meaning news, stories.

& I know we have plenty, always more to come.

Centuries ago,

in Old English, people mistook their word for good; gōd

to be God. Gospel traced

to some good news, more god stories. That’s all. That remains.

Tonight, there is the man

& me. Bitten sacrament thighs. We love this body.

So much we have indulged.

To have outdone us. This time again. Like slipping

on a T-shirt that housed

someone else. To feel sheltered through old sweat

stains. A stranger

produced inside it, before I did. Before a kid from school  


It was their shirt all along. Ours. Before my lies. Before my

body denuded.  

There is no God-awful. To hold without engulfing.

Old shames.

Warning waxed. Leg after itchy leg under sheets

 warmed by him & me.

There are things we have. To worry about come

the morning.

The truth: I too mistook goodness to be God.

The truth.

Was the other way around. Some days I still forget.

To remember.

I refused to wear that shirt again. How many of my belongings

have been belonged

in perpetual motion. This old earth. Stories & news.

I kiss the man

in pursuit of being. Warmed. How many bodies can wither

into one.

Brandon Young (pronouns: he, him) is a PhD student in creative writing at University of Utah, and is Associate Poetry Editor of Quarterly West. He holds a BA from Indiana University, and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University where he was the Larry Levis Poetry Fellow. He has attended Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, and was a Tennessee Williams Scholar in poetry at Sewanee Writers’ Conference. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO, Poet Lore, Blackbird, Foglifter and elsewhere. His poems have been anthologized in A Flame Called Indiana: New Writing from the Crossroads (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2023).