Meatpaper four

Ode to Boudin
by Kevin Young
illustration by Sasha Wizansky

JUNE, 2008

You are the chewing gum
of God. You are the reason
I know that skin
is only that, holds
more than it meets.
The heart of you is something
I don’t quite get
but don’t want to. Even
a fool like me can see
your broken
beauty, the way
out in this world where most
things disappear, driven
into ground, you are ground
already, & like rice
you rise. Drunken deacon,
sausage’s half-brother,
jambalaya’s baby mama,
you bring me back
to the beginning, to where things live
again. Homemade saviour,
you fed me the day
my father sat under flowers
white as the gloves of pallbearers
tossed on his bier.
Soon, hands will lower him
into ground richer
than even you.
For now, root of all
remembrance, your thick chain
sets me spinning, thinking
of how, like the small,
perfect, possible, silent soul
you spill out
like music, my daddy
dead, or grief,
or both—afterward his sisters
my aunts dancing
in the yard to a car radio
tuned to zydeco
beneath the pecan trees.

Kevin Young is the author of five books of poems and editor of four others. His most recent book, For the Confederate Dead, won the 2007 Quill Award in Poetry and the 2008 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement. “Ode to Boudin” will appear in Dear Darkness, his sixth book, forthcoming in September 2008.

This article originally appeared in Meatpaper Issue Four.