Elizabeth Hughey

You, A Barely

Began the way a leaf
could have been a petal,
the way the song
keeps starting over,
you keep beginning,
you’ve been being born
for a long time, but I
don’t know when
you began, the way a hand
could have been a hip,
and a pelvis a bowl
and a bowl a jar
of river water, unshaken.
The way the silt settles,
but I’m not looking
at the silt, I’m looking
through the water
to see you, a faint,
shivering ray. The way
a sun could have already
faded, when we are still
lit up, we are aflame.
Burn the whole forest
and another reappears.


A Centerpiece

How those hydrangeas
stay dead upon the bush
through the winter.
That’s the perfect nude
for lips and lighting.
I need the yellow
of a whiffle ball bat
left out in the rains.
Pull the outside in
and toss it over
your coffee table.
That’s sea grass.
That’s hay. Live in it.
Live in it more.
A wallpaper forest
of birches; they make
a something where
a nothing used to be.
That is the way babies
happen. That is the way
convicts get paroled.
I want the blue
between the clouds
when you are focused
on the clouds.
That’s azure. No, Azure
is a high school girl trying
to say something. That’s me
trying to say something.
Listen for the unjailing
of periwinkle, of seafoam.
Now you aren’t saying a thing.



Elizabeth Hughey is the author of Sunday Houses the Sunday House (University of Iowa Press) and Guest Host (forthcoming from the National Poetry Review Press). She is a contributing editor at Bateau Press and a founder of the Desert Island Supply Co., a free creative writing center for kids in the Birmingham area. New poems can be found in American Poetry Review, Two Serious Ladies, and the White Whale Review. Elizabeth lives with her husband and two sons in Birmingham, AL, where she teaches creative writing and yoga.

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