it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience…
As white as salt, as white as flour,
whiter than the whites of your eyes—
it has been such a long time, my friend.
I know we had a bad go of it in the 80’s,
but you were so young then.  You
were a little co-dependent, so to speak.
The alleyway, the vomit, the heart
about to break free from your chest,
it was all a little misunderstanding.
We have both grown up, right?
You understand white now—
white like the lab coat you put on daily,
white like the hair in your beard
or at your temples, white like your voice
and your last name.  You are so tired.
You are so tired.  How will you ever
get everything done now?  I can
help if you would just let me.
Oh, I know you thought you put me
to rest, that you put me behind you.
But if I’m such a bad thing, why
do you keep a vial of me in
your old pea coat inside pocket?
We have never been apart, my friend.
Oh you can fool yourself into thinking
we are through, but I’m still in you.
Just look in the mirror.  You are tired.
I only want to help you.  You are
so tired.  You cannot get it all done
without my help.  You are so behind.
White like salt.  White like sugar.
White like the lies you tell yourself.
C. Dale Young practices medicine full-time, serves as poetry editor of the New England Review, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.  Four Way Books will publish his latest collection of poetry, The Second Person, in March 2007.  He lives in San Francisco.